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04-10-2008, 02:49 PM   #1
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Which lenses do you actually USE?

As a K10 newbie, I'm currently very busy on planning my lens setup

I was thinking about three sets of lenses:

- "Quality" set (aim: IQ+good range): Ultra Wide angle Zoom, 24-60 f2.8, Fast Tele Zoom like 70-200 f2.8
- "portability" set (aim: small/lighw.): kit 18-55 and a Superzoom or Tele Zoom like 70-300 4-5.6
- Primes set (aim: available light/bokeh): 28, 50, 70 or 100(macro), all very fast

My question is, does it make sense to have so many lenses with overlapping focal ranges?
What are your experiences? Am I going to use, say a Superzoom or cheap tele while I have a fast Tele Zoom? Should I pick a macro lens or will extension tubes be fine? Do you really take the primes with you very often? Which combinations of lenses are in your bag when you go for a trip?

04-10-2008, 03:21 PM   #2
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i don't believe in cheap lenses or superzooms. ymmv.

I have 4 lenses, and I use them all. I prefer to shoot the 35 or 77 (35 is more useful for my typical shooting), but sometimes I need the flexibility of a zoom. A good prime will beat the best zoom.
04-10-2008, 03:28 PM   #3
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I am having the same problem with packing for a trip next week to Asia but I think I have it right (please tell me quick if I haven't). I am taking my 28-300 tamron zoom (which isn't so good at the top end of the zoom but is pretty keen around 200 max), my 10-20 Sigma for those great landscape shots and freaky out-of-perspective architecture ones, and my 50mm 1.4 for those lovely evenings. I guess there's a lot of changing going to be going on but I think the zoom may be on there for the majority of the time just for ease. I have really enjoyed playing and learning with all of them but have to say that the 10-20mm and the 50mm prime are proving by far the favs. Good luck - Isi
04-10-2008, 03:43 PM   #4
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Well, I generally have my backpack stuffed with...

- K100D, usually with a spare set of CR3V lithiums (they last bloody well forever with my typical usage)
- Kit lens (18-55 zoom)
- Sigma 70-300mm DL zoom
- Spiratone 20mm f2.8
- Pentax m50mm f1.7
- Sears 135mm f2.8
- Soligor 2x macro focusing teleconverter
- Soligor 300mm f4.5
- Extra 2g SD card
- Couple of filters (that don't normally get used, ND filter, circ. polarizer)

What I end up shooting with, depends on what I'm shooting. Mostly at the moment it's the kit lens and the short stuff, hasn't been much wildlife opportunity to use the longer glass lately, but now that spring is here, who knows?

04-10-2008, 03:51 PM   #5
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One of these days I hope to have the following in my kit:

Sigma 10-20mm (acquired)

35mm DA Macro (on its way)

50mm 1.7 (acquired)

70 or 77mm ltd

150mm Sigma (not yet made for Pentax)

300mm f* (acquired)

500mm ?

I'm beginning to appreciate the superb resolution and beautiful bokeh of primes over the convenience of zooms. As for the 10-20mm Sigma, its the workhorse thats providing the $'s for my acquisitions, so its a keeper.

Last edited by ivoire; 04-12-2008 at 03:43 PM.
04-10-2008, 04:33 PM   #6
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Good question, I asked my self this same thing not too long ago, which is causing me to rethink what I own and now I am selling the lenses that I love to own, but don't use. My favorite lens is the DA*50-135mm. I am going to buy the DA35mm as my walk around lens because it will go wide and let me get as close as I want to get, I can go from street to room to portrait to macro all in one lens. [I know not bug eye macro but still macro]
04-10-2008, 04:35 PM   #7
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Most of time I use:
DA14 - my ultra-wide, been using it to shoot real estate shots for my brother
FA28 - my standard/normal lens
FA50 - short telephoto, low light
Tamron90 - macro + portrait
FA135 - my telephoto

But when I am going to an event (eg birthdays, weddings), I use mostly Tamron 28-75, FA20-35 and FA50.

I also got two set of manual focus lenses (M-series and K-series) that I use when I want to slow down and really enjoy taking photos. =)

cheers
Kenny
04-10-2008, 04:35 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Noisychip Quote
As a K10 newbie, I'm currently very busy on planning my lens setup

I was thinking about three sets of lenses:

- "Quality" set (aim: IQ+good range): Ultra Wide angle Zoom, 24-60 f2.8, Fast Tele Zoom like 70-200 f2.8
- "portability" set (aim: small/lighw.): kit 18-55 and a Superzoom or Tele Zoom like 70-300 4-5.6
- Primes set (aim: available light/bokeh): 28, 50, 70 or 100(macro), all very fast

My question is, does it make sense to have so many lenses with overlapping focal ranges?
What are your experiences? Am I going to use, say a Superzoom or cheap tele while I have a fast Tele Zoom? Should I pick a macro lens or will extension tubes be fine? Do you really take the primes with you very often? Which combinations of lenses are in your bag when you go for a trip?
No, it doesn't make a lot of sense but is sometimes un-avoidable.

If I was starting out again I would only buy top end quality lenses, a good example at the moment is the DA* 16-50 & 50-135....these would be what I would buying without doubt IF I was staring afresh and had the $$$. Anything else is a compromise.

The kit lens never hurts to have as it is generally included at a very good price....but beyond that....go with the quality option, otherwise you end up dumping $$$ on ordinary glass that could have been better spent if you were patient, but it all comes back to how much you have to spend in the first place.

I have got myself into the habit of attaching different lenses for no reason at all and then making myself work with that focal length. Think I learn a lot more this way.

What am I packing? (& I am packing for NZ). My kit currently is:
*ist DS & DL.
Pentax 18-55; Sigma 18-125; Sigma EX DG f1.8 24mm; Pentax DFA100mm f2.8; Tamron di 70-300; Sigma 135-400.

Whats going:
DS & DL;
Sigma 18-125; Great walk around every day lens, have no issues with this lens. (will live on the DL).
Sigma 24mm; Speed; Low light & my wide angle for landscapes.
Pentax 100; Speed; Quality glass, use it for anything and everything.
Tamron 70-300. Light weight and reach.

Whats not going: 18-55, found it too short. 135-400, big and weighty.

Hope that helps.

04-10-2008, 05:08 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Noisychip Quote
My question is, does it make sense to have so many lenses with overlapping focal ranges?
depends on what you can afford.

I've have a Mamiya 645 kit and have bought the 'better' 80/f1.9 and 150/f2.8 lenses intending to replace the 80/f2.8 & 150/f4 versions I already had. Haven't sold the slower lenses as they make a much better travel kit. Combined with a 55/f2.8 they all use the same filter size (the 'better' lenses use different ones) and are much smaller/lighter and fit into a small bag.

For my K10D I have the 16-45/4. I wanted the extra 2mm at the wide end over the kit lens. I bought a DA50-200 for a tele zoom as I wanted something small and light as I historically (film days) don't use tele lenses much. I have been using it a lot more than I thought, so may upgrade one day. These two lenses cover my needs, but I can see the attraction of having a quality set of lens for when you've got the time and inclination to put the effort in to get the results possible (eg. using tripod, waiting around for ideal light), but a different setup for travelling, where security and time issues present different issues. (eg. travelling buddies won't want to wait for you to change lenses).

Nige.
04-10-2008, 05:23 PM   #10
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When I went on my trip to the Grand Canyon, I took all my lenses because I didnt kno what I would use. I ended up using my 50-135mm the most, second was the 16-50. I never used the Tamron 28-75mm and I used the Tamron 70-300mm a few times, but only at the 300mm end. That made me decide to sell both my Tamrons and just get a long prime and a few short primes.
04-10-2008, 05:42 PM   #11
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I have the Sigma 70-200/2.8 and the FA 80-320. No way to I want to carry the Sigma around with me on a walk, it's only taken out for specific missions. My FA 35/2 and 50/1.4 are similarly taken for specific purposes, generally being low light. Otherwise my Sigma 17-70 and P 80-320 do the general stuff, I hate carrying lots of gear.
04-10-2008, 06:00 PM   #12
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Out of the lenses in my sig, the one I'm using right now is the Sigma 17-70; a lot of shots with the 17-70 are taken at the 70 end so I can get the 1:2.3 close-up feature. While zoom is convenient, my next lens purchases will most likely be primes--the DFA 100mm/2.8, DA21, and DA70. I've debated keeping my 18-55 and the 70-210 is up for sale now.

One idea I have is to hang on to everything as it is until I get all the primes on my list and then decide which one of the wider zooms I want to hang on to. Depending on how much better the IQ is on the 18-55 II, I've thought about getting rid of both zooms and picking it up to replace them as a backup zoom to my primes for the times where I'm going somewhere where conditions are such that it's not advisable to change lenses too much.

I've got some other photography-related things I want to get, as well besides lenses, so it may be a while before I get all the primes I want.

HTH,
Heather
04-10-2008, 06:31 PM   #13
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when I was shooting in Yosemite, I was perfectly happy with the results I got from my 16-45 and 50-135. I did shoot the 77ltd, but didn't really need to as the 50-135 is a very high contrast lens. I did need the extra throw to "get close"

While it might have been nice to have a 200 and 300, it really wasn't necessary. If I'd had the 35 macro I would have likely shot that a fair amount. But I really don't understand a bunch of overlapping zooms. As was said above, get the 16-50* (a good one) and the 50-135* and be done with it. There is no reason to get another zoom that overlaps that range except *maybe* for a 12-24 if you absolutely have to shoot ultrawide.

I think if you want to expand your creative eye, just shoot an entire day with a single prime lens. You'll also get more exercise
04-10-2008, 06:37 PM   #14
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Overlapping focal lengths aren't a problem if you have different kits for different situations, like you propose. I don't like carrying more than two, maybe three lenses at once. My plan is to only take one kit out at a time, but I bet I'll take a digital zoom kit out with the primes when I want to do color and B&W film.
Ryan
04-10-2008, 06:46 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by nostatic Quote

I think if you want to expand your creative eye, just shoot an entire day with a single prime lens. You'll also get more exercise

I'm finding this to be true also, nostatic. For one full day, turn off the part of your brain concerned with focal length, zooming, and the contents of your camera bag and let your mind relax into, say, 50mm, or 21, or 135. It's a calmer way of shooting, somehow, and it seems to result in more keepers, at least for me lately. I've done this with a zoom, too - once I kept my 50-135 at 135mm the whole day. Pretty fun to do that.
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