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08-29-2012, 12:31 PM   #46
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kit lens.... which one?

1)



2)



If you really had to look hard, then the lens kit has already make a good impression for the $

BTW one is K100D (6mp) the other is K10D (10mp)

cheers

randy

08-29-2012, 01:37 PM - 1 Like   #47
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When I read Ken's essay the point I carried away was that the major factor in a good photography was the craftsman or -woman, rather than small differences in the tools. Certainly a Brownie Box Camera can hardly equal the quality of a Hasselblad, but an artist with the Brownie will produce far better results than a dweeb with the Hassie. This is hardly a new idea, though.

Truly for most of us current cameras and lenses are far better than we are. I started shooting with a used Retina 1, f3.5 Ektar, uncoated. Scale focus - for the youngsters out there you guesstimate the distance to the subject and set that on the lens. Then I bought a Beauty (yes, that was its name!)with a f1.9, rangefinder and flash synch. Wowzer! Its shutter blew up after several years of considerable use. Then a Komaflex S 127 format SLR. Then a Taron rangefinder. Then a Praktica LTL with an f1.8, for which I bought extension tubes, a 28mm, a 135mm, and a Tamron Adaptamatic 200 f3.5. Lovely lens, that Tamron. The Praktica still works, BTW. I made a number of good photos with that kit.

Now, throughout this progression life became easier. But I still imagined that if I had the latest whiz-bang camera all would be well.

Then I bought a used MX with the f1.7. Now I had a "professional grade" camera, and I could no longer blame failures on inadequate gear. So I had to do the hard work of looking at MY approach to shooting, since I had a thoroughly competent camera. When I bought the LX I really no longer had any excuses.

Now, this was of course before digital. With digital we have even fewer excuses, since one can see immediately the results. I do feel that all the pixel-peeking is leading too many of us into infatuation with the tool to the detriment of the product. When I was in my late 20's I was a camera club member...briefly. All too often the shots exhibited were technically superb, but vacuous. How many razor sharp shots of a pet cat do we need? This was pixel-peeking in the analogue world, the fact that the shot was taken with a Leica M3 on Agfa, with a Summricon, printed with a Leitz Focomat on to blah, blah, blah .... Folks would look at a picture and their first question was "What camera and lens did you use?"

While the gear used is interesting we should be more concerned with whether the shooter was able to convey his/her "vision," so to speak. I'd like to think that we can avoid the sort of "technophilia" which seems sometimes to overwhelm photography.
08-29-2012, 01:42 PM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by grhazelton Quote
When I read Ken's essay the point I carried away was that the major factor in a good photography was the craftsman or -woman, rather than small differences in the tools. Certainly a Brownie Box Camera can hardly equal the quality of a Hasselblad, but an artist with the Brownie will produce far better results than a dweeb with the Hassie. This is hardly a new idea, though.

Truly for most of us current cameras and lenses are far better than we are. I started shooting with a used Retina 1, f3.5 Ektar, uncoated. Scale focus - for the youngsters out there you guesstimate the distance to the subject and set that on the lens. Then I bought a Beauty (yes, that was its name!)with a f1.9, rangefinder and flash synch. Wowzer! Its shutter blew up after several years of considerable use. Then a Komaflex S 127 format SLR. Then a Taron rangefinder. Then a Praktica LTL with an f1.8, for which I bought extension tubes, a 28mm, a 135mm, and a Tamron Adaptamatic 200 f3.5. Lovely lens, that Tamron. The Praktica still works, BTW. I made a number of good photos with that kit.

Now, throughout this progression life became easier. But I still imagined that if I had the latest whiz-bang camera all would be well.

Then I bought a used MX with the f1.7. Now I had a "professional grade" camera, and I could no longer blame failures on inadequate gear. So I had to do the hard work of looking at MY approach to shooting, since I had a thoroughly competent camera. When I bought the LX I really no longer had any excuses.

Now, this was of course before digital. With digital we have even fewer excuses, since one can see immediately the results. I do feel that all the pixel-peeking is leading too many of us into infatuation with the tool to the detriment of the product. When I was in my late 20's I was a camera club member...briefly. All too often the shots exhibited were technically superb, but vacuous. How many razor sharp shots of a pet cat do we need? This was pixel-peeking in the analogue world, the fact that the shot was taken with a Leica M3 on Agfa, with a Summricon, printed with a Leitz Focomat on to blah, blah, blah .... Folks would look at a picture and their first question was "What camera and lens did you use?"

While the gear used is interesting we should be more concerned with whether the shooter was able to convey his/her "vision," so to speak. I'd like to think that we can avoid the sort of "technophilia" which seems sometimes to overwhelm photography.
well said, couldn't agree more
08-29-2012, 01:49 PM   #49
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Thanks!

08-29-2012, 02:12 PM   #50
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On the whole he is talking garbage with elements of truth in my opinion. I certainly agree though that people get wayyyyyy too wrapped up in pixel peeping.
08-29-2012, 10:04 PM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by grhazelton Quote
How many razor sharp shots of a pet cat do we need?
What! You didn't find my shot of my beloved Tina great art? I'm devastated. I thought it was right up there with Weston, Adams and Stieglitz.

"technophilia" - very good I must remember that one.

My final word on this topic:
What's the difference between a mediocre photographer taking mediocre photos with a 100 buck kit lens compared to a $800 limited?

Answer: with the Limited the mediocre photographer will now be able to take sharper mediocre photos.
08-30-2012, 01:46 AM   #52
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I actually consider this to be a better critical analysis on optical performance characteristics - don't forget to read some of the comments below...
08-30-2012, 09:58 AM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by grhazelton Quote
While the gear used is interesting we should be more concerned with whether the shooter was able to convey his/her "vision," so to speak. I'd like to think that we can avoid the sort of "technophilia" which seems sometimes to overwhelm photography.
While I agree that technophilia is a real problem, I know of examples of the opposite problem, which could be described as "technophobia." I know a former professional photographer who has plenty of artistic "vision." But she lacks technical skill. In fact, I've heard her almost boasting about her lack of interest in technique. Her lack of technique (along with the accompanying indifference to gear) detracts from her work (which is mainly portrait): her images lack variety. It's quite possible that the reason she's no longer a professional is that she refused to learn new technical skills which could have enabled her to extend her artistic vision and produce work with greater variety. I know several other aspiring photographers who suffer similar issues relating to technique and gear: their development as photographers is suffering from an unwillingness or inability to purchase and master the gear necessary to convey their vision. The fact is that gear, technique, and artistic vision all coloborate in the production of the final image; and it is an error to focus on one to the exclusion of the others.

08-30-2012, 10:56 AM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by slip Quote
kit lens.... which one?
I don't care for either the DA 18-55s, but I prefer the first to the second versions. Other kit lenses I've used are the M 50/2, the F 35-70, the A 35-80, and the Olympus M. Zukio 14-42 ED. Of these kit lenses, the Olympus is easily the best: as good as mid-range standard zooms like the DA 16-45. The M 50/2 is also decent: what it loses in focal range diversity (compared to the kit zooms), it gains via aperture diversity. However, it is easily outclassed by all other Pentax FF normal lenses. Of the Pentax kit zooms, the F 35-70 is the best I have used. While it's hardly a superlative lens, it exhibits commendable consistency, corner to corner, throughout it's zoom range. It's a nice option for budget stressed pentaxians looking for an upgrade over the DA kit lens. The A 35-80 is the worst of the bunch; quite possibly the worst SMC lens Pentax has ever made.

I still believe than any photographer with real talent (and the requisite technique) will benefit from using better glass than the typical kit zoom. I've been looking through images at the Pentax photogallery, and most of the best pictures are taken with Pentax's best mid to high range lens offerings. When you combine talent, exquisite technique, and stunning glass, the results are often magical.
09-01-2012, 06:59 AM   #55
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A few thoughts not really in response to any comments here.

- I've found Ken Rockwell to offer reasonable opinions on camera gear often shopped by photography hobbyists as well as folks simply wanting to buy good camera gear for their family and travel snapshots. Yes, he overly simplifies things at times and he tends to focus on kit and less expensive lenses. He makes valid points at times in that a heavy $2000 US pro-grade lens left at home because it's too big and heavy to carry isn't as good of choice as the inexpensive and light weight kit zoom. Where I believe he misses the point for many photographers is the opinions he holds for much of what we do as being simple gear lust and not some search for high quality products which offer the opportunites we need to acheive the results we seek. The link here to the Online Photographer blog post on lens sharpness (an excellent blog post, by the way, and I find that blog a great read) is very telling. The Frank Petronio portrait of the girl adjacent to the field illustrates just about everything I've ever found fascinating about camera lenses. With his stated purpose, Ken Rockwell can't produce the results spoke of and shown in that blog post. Which is okay.

- Sure, every lens can offer sharp results - most of us made that realization some time ago. I'm interested in how and under what circumstances a lens offers results I find pleasing and I often find that a lens considered as "good" doesn't impress me as much due to how the image results transition from visible sharpness to unsharpness. A limited DOF is a telling avenue for determining these characteristics. The way that the sharpness-to-unsharpness relationship changes and the rate of that change both matter. Perhaps an inexpensive lens found to be "sharp" at F11 or F16 doesn't present any problems regarding sharp focus to soft focus due to the extended DOF. Again, that's certainly okay. I'm not sure I want a lens I would continuely need to stop down to F16 for best results.

- Ken Rockwell mentions a letter from Ansel Adams to Edward Weston regarding lens sharpness. That's an interesting communication to build an opinion piece on. Adams was notoriously opposed to pictorialist photography and a supporter of Group f64 as he probably should have been considering his interest in photorealist landscapes. I could describe Weston's work in still life photography as similar. I suspect the conversation was less about base lens sharpness than lens DOF characteristics I would describe as a "flatter curve" on either side of the point of sharpness.

From the Edward Weston web site bio page, one clip on Weston from the time of that letter from Adams:

"After moving back to California in 1926, Weston began his work for which he is most deservedly famous: natural forms, close-ups, nudes, and landscapes. Between 1927 and 1930, Weston made a series of monumental close-ups of seashells, peppers, and halved cabbages, bringing out the rich textures of their sculpture-like forms. Weston moved to Carmel, California in 1929 and shot the first of many photographs of rocks and trees at Point Lobos, California. Weston became one of the founding members of Group f/64 in 1932 with Ansel Adams, Willard Van Dyke, Imogen Cunningham and Sonya Noskowiak. The group chose this optical term because they habitually set their lenses to that aperture to secure maximum image sharpness of both foreground and distance. 1936 marked the start of Weston’s series of nudes and sand dunes in Oceano, California, which are often considered some of his finest work. Weston became the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship for experimental work in 1936. Following the receipt of this fellowship Weston spent the next two years taking photographs in the West and Southwest United States with assistant and future wife Charis Wilson. Later, in 1941 using photographs of the East and South Weston provided illustrations for a new edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass."

http://www.edward-weston.com/index.htm

I've always considered the Group f64 goal as one of appropriate DOF rather than maximum lens sharpness. Funny, having received that Guggenheim Fellowship in 1936 I suspect Edward Weston was indeed shopping for new camera gear. It's not that the lens gear used at that time was simple but that the enlargement ratios being considered for final prints were less than a person might see today with an APS-C digital camera. And these were photographers who knew proper mechanical technique.

- Finally, what does all of this mean for me? I really like the "super-sharp" nature of my Nikon lenses but I see them as having a documentary style to them. I know my Pentax lenses are just as sharp in real world terms but they offer a more relaxed, pictorial feel for images which I find more pleasing. Perhaps it's Pentax's fault with their multi-coating techniques developed during the 1960s and now shared with all of the camera manufacturers but differences between the image quality of lenses today is difficult to nail down, almost prompting a search for what can best be described as the desired voo-doo. Maybe the big mistake made has been that of perfecting lens performance to the point that our images are qualitative superstars but at times not really all that interesting.

Last edited by B Grace; 09-01-2012 at 07:26 AM.
09-02-2012, 11:58 AM   #56
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QuoteOriginally posted by B Grace Quote
A few thoughts not really in response to any comments here.
Maybe the big mistake made has been that of perfecting lens performance to the point that our images are qualitative superstars but at times not really all that interesting.
I find that as a photographer I worry too much about how sharp an image is.... My kids and a lot of adults choose some of my photos that are soft and (to me) not the best of the group.
If only everyone thought like a photographer, then all my hard work analysing the pictures would pay off


thanks everyone so far for the input, some very good reading...

randy
09-02-2012, 08:35 PM   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by Boker Quote
Think somewhere he stated you needed to spend at least $500 or so to get a sharp lens.I have 50mm 1.7 Sears lens $20 that is probably as sharp as some zooms costing over the $500 and there are a lot of lens out there in this category
Is this lense Radioactive ? I have read a lot about the SMC Takumer lenses
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