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01-30-2008, 08:53 PM   #1
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Using the 40/2.8 lens for landscape/trekking photography. Tips and tricks needed.

In a few weeks, a group I'm with is going to go trekking up a local volcano that boasts various sceneries such as a crater lake and waterfalls (among other things). Obviously, the lens of choice for a trip like this would be wide-angle lens. But me being a newbie and all, I only have one lens, which is the smc P-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited. I love this lens, but of course, I'm missing the flexibility of a zoom and the field-of-view that a wide gives. All the same, I've decided to challenge myself and use the 40/2.8 throughout the whole trip.

Having said that, could anyone give any tips and tricks that could come in handy so that I could maximize what I could do with the 40mm?

So far, my approach is simply to use the lens in the best way I could only within the bounds of what it could do. In other words, I wouldn't force myself to compose the kinds of shots that a wide angle could easily take.

01-30-2008, 10:04 PM   #2
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Experiment with stitching panoramas before you go would be my choice. Then your lens is as wide as you want it to be.
01-31-2008, 12:14 AM   #3
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I'd have to go with the panoramic idea as well.

This is a 42 photo panoramic, using a 28mm lens.


I held my camera vertically, lined the bottom of the lens up with the bottom of the mountains. Took 21 pictures. One beside the other with a big overlap.

Then I lined the top of the lens up with the top of the mountains, and took 21 pictures with the same amount of overlap.

When I got home I downloaded them all onto my computer, and stitched them all together.

It's easier shooting panoramic's while using a tripod, although I hand held this one.

And you'll want to shoot them entirely in Manual. Otherwise it'll possibly try focusing between every picture when it doesn't have to.
Plus it'll adjust the exposure between every picture making it very tough to stitch together.

I can't really give you any more tips, although if you'd like I can post 10 small images or so from the above panoramic.
If you try stitching them together it'll give you an idea how I shot them, and what to try doing yourself.

You might have to send me a PM asking for me to post them, and I might be too busy to until tomorrow night.
01-31-2008, 12:57 AM   #4
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Being limited to a single prime is a GREAT thing. Hell, I shot several nice landscapes with a 50. You'll miss some shots, but it will force you to be more creative in framing. That's a good thing--at some point you'll see the weaknesses in what you have, and it'll be time for a second lens.

Nikon E-series 50mm f/1.8. With fungus.


01-31-2008, 05:55 AM   #5
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I agree that just using a prime is great. And think about how much more compact your setup will be than someone hauling around a super-zoom.
01-31-2008, 06:31 AM   #6
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When I use primes, I tend to get better shots because you would have to think about composition with the particular focal length.

Zooms often produce snapshots that you would end up leaving them in the Raw files sitting in the computers.
01-31-2008, 09:12 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by benplaut Quote
Nikon E-series 50mm f/1.8. With fungus.
nice photo!

It's promising to hear the love for primes on this thread.

Not so keen on the panorama though. Hehe.
02-01-2008, 10:05 AM   #8
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I agree with what has been said about primes forcing you to think about composition more, especially if you are just starting out. The DA40 is a great lens, especially for hiking.

I have used my DA Limiteds (21 and 40) for several hiking trips, and I MUCH prefer using them to using a single zoom lens. Using the 21/40 combo with my K110D makes a great travel package.

Something you should seriously consider is buying an older manual-focus Pentax 28mm 2.8 lens. For landscapes you don't need auto-focus, and the 28 is a quality lens for that purpose. I bought one last year for $90 (28mm SMC-A 2.8) and it turned out to be the most used lens on my last backpacking trip. It's a cheap (but very good) way to expand your options.

02-01-2008, 03:46 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildboar Quote
I agree with what has been said about primes forcing you to think about composition more, especially if you are just starting out. The DA40 is a great lens, especially for hiking.

I have used my DA Limiteds (21 and 40) for several hiking trips, and I MUCH prefer using them to using a single zoom lens. Using the 21/40 combo with my K110D makes a great travel package.

Something you should seriously consider is buying an older manual-focus Pentax 28mm 2.8 lens. For landscapes you don't need auto-focus, and the 28 is a quality lens for that purpose. I bought one last year for $90 (28mm SMC-A 2.8) and it turned out to be the most used lens on my last backpacking trip. It's a cheap (but very good) way to expand your options.
Here here. 28mm is a GREAT focal length for landscapes. Some like 24, but that's a tad bit too wide for me... how often do you find a landscape wide enough that you really want the whole thing!

@lastdodobird: thanks--that was a hard shot to take. I didn't have a tripod, but I wanted that flowing water. Braced my D50 on top of a piece of driftwood and took twenty or thirty shots--only this one was OK
02-01-2008, 05:34 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by benplaut Quote
28mm is a GREAT focal length for landscapes.
What about running around with the 31mm limited as my only lens? I am seriously thinking that if I need to spend money it might as well be in one place. Get one great lens not three mediocre ones. I will be shooting city stuff, people, indoors, etc. as much (or more) than landscapes. Of course for some of these I can just crop out extraneous detail on the computer. I'd rather be too wide than too tight.

I have never carried around a body with multiple lenses, so I do not know the ins and outs of changing them quickly, the likelihood of damage or dust, the (in)convenience.

But I do like the idea of limiting my choices but not compromising IQ.

Anyone have experience walking with only a 31mm? Hold on, what am I thinking! I guess I did the same in film days. 31mm now = 50mm then. Hmmmm... maybe not wide enough.
02-02-2008, 02:29 AM   #11
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I walk around with only my 28/1.8 on a regular basis, but I'm not really a "normal" photog in that there are shots I know can't be gotten, and I don't try to get them!

A much better solution for something a bit more general purpose would be to get a 35/2, then complement it with something like a Sigma 17-70/2.8-4.5, Pentax 16-45/4, or to wait a while for either the Tamron 17-50/2.8 or Pentax 16-70/4. The 35/2 is a highly regarded normal, nearly as sharp as the 31/1.8 and only a stop slower. For $300, you can pick one up and compliment it with any of a number of wide -> semi-portrait zooms. On a tighter budget, even the kit lens is pretty darn good, although slow. Just make a decision on whether you want to invest in better glass with more limitations on FL, or settle for cheaper glass that, if you keep on taking pictures, will likely be replaced or superseded in a year or two.

I'm a prime user myself, but unless you're already a prime user from film days, starting out with primes will just make you not interested in photography
02-02-2008, 09:59 AM   #12
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WHile I do not use the DA40 much, except couled with a DS as a compact and party camera, then I do use the FA43 a fiar bit, so no only a 40mm prime would not be an issue when it comes to landscapes. I would personally prefer bringing a DA21 but hey you cannot get it all.

However a 40ish mm lens can produce fine results.




Will a 40mm only make you feel constrained at times, maybe yes.
Would a 20ish lens be better, IMHO yes, but being out with only a 40mm will not prevent you from shooting landscapes
02-03-2008, 04:18 AM   #13
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A single prime is the best thing you can do for your own photographic growth. I lived for years with a ZX-M and cheap 28-200 and 18-28 lenses; it wasn't until had a 50mm prime (two years later) that my photography took off. A 40mm prime is a bit long in digital, but still a fine choice. I'd repeat others' suggestions that the 21mm prime is a good investment, but don't fret... you'll get better pictures, regardless, if you're forced to make a lens work. Great photos exist at all focal lengths; this will teach you to find some of them.

Best of luck, and just have fun out there,

Will
02-03-2008, 04:56 AM   #14
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Thanks guys. Glad to see much love for primes here. And of course, good photographers make good photos, not good gear. Hehe.

But not to sound ungrateful or anything, because I am. I was sort of hoping for more of the "tips and tricks/do's and dont's" type of advice like what to look out for during the trek that would be a good opportunity for a shot... or if anything, maybe something like "don't attempt to take this kind of shot since it wouldn't work with your lens" or something of the sort.

02-03-2008, 05:42 AM   #15
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My "do": got a UV filter to protect your one lens. If you get a nice multicoated one, the impact to image quality will be negligible, and in the case of going for a long trek, the benefits of the extra safety are larger.
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