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05-15-2014, 01:48 AM   #1
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help for a rookie!

Guys, please help a rookie out. I just graduated from point and shoot and got my first DSLR. I have a k-50 with the kit 18-55mm & 50-200mm. I'm learning when I can, but lenses are still a foreign language to me.

I'm going to the Tetons for vac soon and I'm interested in landscape shots. I've been taking notes on landscape tips, but I think I want a cheap used wider angle lens to play with($50-$75ish). I'm fine with no zoom, prob even manual focus. I notice a lot of 28mm lenses on eBay in that price range, and anything lower looks $$. Will those get me wider than my 18-55? It's what I want attainable for that price range? I'm lost, lol! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Chris

05-15-2014, 02:36 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Nothing beats good glass, so don't go cheap. [ I'm not sure why you are asking re 28 versus 18-55, so please pardon me if my response seems out of line if I have misinterpreted your question. 28mm is between 18 and 55, so it isn't wider than the lens you have (smaller focal length = wider).] My advice would be to save your pennies and get a Pentax DA 15 f4 Limited - see if you can get the older SMC version for about $350-400. My experience with older and cheaper lenses is that it is harder to get good results, and you may find yourself spending good money on someone's 'quality escape'. Every time I took a punt on something cheap, I ended up giving it away for free. Spend the money and you won't be disappointed. I know this doesn't answer your question directly and probably isn't what you wanted to hear, so my apologies for that.

I had a look on ebay and note that the 28mm lenses you are talking about are older M42 (screw mount) lenses and will need an adapter, will not talk to your camera re aperture and will only be manual focus. Go to the Tetons with your kit lenses.

Good luck.
05-15-2014, 02:57 AM   #3
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only start buying more lenses when you feel that your current lenses just wont give you that extra something that you need, whether its going wider, extra reach, low light performance etc etc....
the 18-55 @ 18mm is fine, maybe not the best of lenses, but will get the job done for decent landscape shots. With a bit of post processing you can make them look really good. its not all about lenses though...
you need to factor other things in order to capture that perfect photo like composition, timing, angle etc.... so the photographer needs to have some knowledge of his own.
so if you dont have lots of practice, go out there and start shooting....once you've done that, only you will know exactly what lens you need in order to cover your needs.
05-15-2014, 02:59 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Welcome to the Forum!!

In all honesty, I would just use what you currently have. There is nothing wrong with the lenses. Yes, you can find better lenses, however they do co$t. Its better to use what you have, figure out what you like to shoot, perhaps a tripod if you like landscapes and hold off buying lenses for a while. Go shoot things first. If you want to go wider, I would stitch - using Microsoft ICE (its a free download). Here are a couple of different posts (same thread) on the same topic.


05-15-2014, 03:42 AM   #5
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Thanks for the responses. I guess I thought there was more to 'wide angle' than focal length, like lens shape. As you guys suggest, I'll stick with the 18 for now. Wider would be fun to play with, but as a casual photographer at this point, I'm not looking top drop another $300+. Too many other hobbies to support! I did get a tripod I can hike with, so I think I'll get some good stuff.
05-15-2014, 04:17 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Hi Chris.

There is already plenty of good advice in this thread. I might just go back a step, as AdrianM has done.

The old lenses you are referring to were designed for 35mm film cameras. 28mm was a wide angle lens on a film camera; a standard view lens was 50mm. On your K-50, 28mm is equivalent to about 42mm on a film camera, which is just a little wider than standard. That is because the sensor on your K-50 (and all other Pentax DSLRs) is about two-thirds the size of a 35mm film frame. To get a lens on the K-50 with an angle of view similar to that of a 28mm lens on a film camera you would need to go to about 19mm.

Lenses wider than 28mm were not terribly common on film cameras, and the good ones now command premium prices. For example in the Pentax-A series (auto aperture, manual focus) the 15mm f3.5 and the 20mm f2.8 primes are rare and expensive. By contrast, prime lenses that were common on film cameras, like 35mm, 50mm, 85mm and 135mm, are now often good value as standard-telephoto lenses for DSLRs.

So the upshot is that old lenses are not a cheap route to wide angles on a DSLR.

Your 18-55mm kit lens gives a reasonable wide-angle range. The highly-rated DA 16-45mm goes a little wider - the extra 2mm makes a difference. But although not expensive that lens will be out of your budget.

Most people who want to go significantly wider than 18mm on a Pentax DSLR go for either the DA 15mm that AdrianM mentioned, or one of the ultra-wide zoom from Sigma, Tamron or Pentax (e.g. 10-20mm or 12-24mm). There is a very good comparative review of the leading zooms in this range on this site. None of them is really cheap. Better to work with your existing lenses first and get familiar with the new camera.

I'd say follow the advice above: go with the 18-55mm, maybe get a tripod (borrow a good one for the trip rather than buy a cheapie), and try stitching software to create panoramas. The free program Autostitch (http://www.cs.bath.ac.uk/brown/autostitch/autostitch.html) is amazing.

The learning curve from P&S to DSLR can be a lot of fun. You will be amazed at what your camera and lenses can do. Read the manual, read the articles on the forum and experiment.

After a while you will see which focal lengths you use the most, whether you shoot mostly in good light or not, and so on. Then you will be better placed to look at the best upgrades from your existing lenses.

Last edited by Des; 05-17-2014 at 03:33 PM.
05-15-2014, 04:19 AM   #7
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Good luck, and looking forward to see some of your shots. It took me a long time before I got into very specific prime lenses. My favourite lens for what you are going to do is actually the Sigma 18-250 f3.5-6.3 Macro. If you can only carry one lens, then that would have to be it, as it gives flexibility and responsiveness in getting decent shots of most things that appear around the next corner from scenery to wildflowers to animals. However, if you want to get into the specialist landscape shots it is hard to go past the DA Limited lenses. Ultimately it depends on logistics and whether you can sneak some stuff into some-one else's backpack!

Some shots with the DA 10-17 fisheye, DA 15 Ltd and Da 40 Ltd:

AdrianM's Album: Brisbane - PentaxForums.com
05-15-2014, 04:45 AM   #8
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Hi!

You have two decent lenses that you will do just fine with.

If you want to try something different without breaking the bank try to look at this:

SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.7 Reviews - M Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Manual focus lenses will teach you some of the basics of photography.

Seb

05-15-2014, 05:09 AM - 1 Like   #9
Des
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QuoteOriginally posted by AdrianM Quote
My favourite lens for what you are going to do is actually the Sigma 18-250 f3.5-6.3 Macro. If you can only carry one lens, then that would have to be it, as it gives flexibility and responsiveness in getting decent shots of most things that appear around the next corner from scenery to wildflowers to animals.
I completely agree about the merits of the superzoom. I went for 6 years with a Tamron 18-250 as my only lens. Landscapes, wildlife, people, buildings, pets, close-ups - it did the lot.

Many people on these forums are sniffy about superzooms (jack of all trades, master of none, slow, lots of distortion, soft in the corners, and so on). We tend to forget their advantages:
1.You always have a suitable lens on the camera for just about any situation, as Adrian says.
2. Don't have the weight and bulk of multiple lenses.
3. Not having to change lenses minimises the risk of dust on the sensor. (While the 18-250 was my only lens I rarely got dust on the sensor. Now I change lenses often, it is a constant problem.)
4. Distortion is readily fixed in PP. If you shoot in RAW (or RAW + jpg, which is what I do), get a program like DxO Optics Pro. It will fix distortions and aberrations it automatically, and take the images to another level.

An 18-250 (Sigma, Tamron or Pentax) or 18-270 (Pentax) is a very good alternative to the 18-55 + 50-200 combination. The IQ is at least as good.

Whether you use the kit lens combination or a superzoom, after a period of time you will find out what you shoot the most, and you can add lenses to suit if you wish. I found that most of my shots were at the widest end or the longest, so I eventually added an ultra-wide (Pentax DA 12-24) and a birding lens (Sigma 170-500). For other people it might be shooting indoors or at night (need something fast), or portraits (sharp moderate telephoto), or macros. You need to find out for yourself.

Last edited by Des; 05-15-2014 at 03:08 PM.
05-15-2014, 07:22 AM - 1 Like   #10
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18mm is more than wide enough. Shooting wider than this gives a different perspective to your shots with much consideration to what is in your foreground and what may not be visible on the horizon.

I was in the Isle of skye recently and proposed to shoot mostly with a 10-20mm. When I switched to my 18-135 @ 18 I realised how much tighter (although still wide angle) it is but how much more I seemed to gain in frame because more distant points of interest became larger.

Have a bash at using the 55mm end of your lens too for items in the foreground (flowers, signposts etc..) with softer backgrounds.

If you are keen to go for wider than 18 a good place to start would be a 16-45. This is a decently sharp lens, gives you a taste of wide ultra angle and are in abundance on the second hand market.

The advice from Des re the superzoom is sound. I shot exclusivley in with a Sigma 18-250 last year on a beach, on safari and in a city and it performed very well.
You may find you have preference for one particular focal length and style of photography and the superzoom allows you to try all this out without investing in individual lenses.

Most of all get tore in!
05-16-2014, 12:39 PM   #11
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You will probably find a old M50 or A50 for that price, which will let you work with manual. Those are not wide, as you know.

I would suggest you get a polarizing filter instead, which will provide added function to the kit lens. Use the kit lens and figure out what you can't do or want to do better, and hone your basic skills. Then start lens shopping.
05-16-2014, 01:09 PM   #12
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Thanks for the advise all, I'm going to back up, slow down, and play with what I have for a while. I do have a polarizing filter and a tripod. I'm sure I'll catch some good stuff, by my amateur eye anyhow. Lol
05-17-2014, 11:48 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ctopher62 Quote
Thanks for the advise all, I'm going to back up, slow down, and play with what I have for a while. I do have a polarizing filter and a tripod. I'm sure I'll catch some good stuff, by my amateur eye anyhow. Lol
Here are a few more suggestions... You have received some wonderful advice. Photography is pretty capital intensive, you can always find reasons to spend money. Here are a couple of additional items to consider.
  • Battery - If you are going to do some backpacking, take an extra battery or two. If you are going to be near a power plug, then perhaps an additional single battery. Wasabi batteries cost 1/4, last 3/4 and charger 2x as the Pentax OEM ones. About $12 each and get one with a charger, so that in a pinch you can recharge both your Pentax and spare at the same time.
  • Shutter release - If you are going to be doing stitching or panoramas, then a remote shutter release will help. Either an IR or wired, both are reasonably cheap - about $10.
  • SD Cards - These are all pretty cheap. Just get Class 10 and 32GB cards are pretty inexpensive. 2 cards and you are set. About $15 to $20 each. Lots of good brands Transend, PNY, SanDisk, etc.
  • Lenses - As has been said, what you have is way more than sufficient. There is very little you can't do with them. The only thing that comes to mind is taking images of the eyes of bugs. Play with and experiment with what you have. Take pictures from on high, down low (ground level), eye level, waist level - they will all be different. Take landscapes with telephotos - and stitch, along with at 18mm. Again they will all be different. Take long exposures. Take a series of images on a tripod of a sunrise or the sun illuminating the mountain peaks, and stack them together. Your "film" is free. Try out bracketing (HDR). You will be astounded at the amount of light there is at night - especially what the camera can "see". Also, look for light. Light is the main part of photography. Light at sun rise and sun set, the angle is low and the coloration is different, which makes for fantastic pictures. Also the blue and golden hour before sunrise and after sunset - the irradicent blue in the sky at those times. The light from the moon is also very good. The light and arrangement of shadows - especially in the mountains and through the trees. Take a look at the kit lens images posted. Take a look at the images and see if there is anything that you are interested in that can't be done?
  • Software - Your camera came with the OEM software, which is actually pretty good - and the price was right. Experiment with that. There is also lots of free and trial software utilities out there that will help. In time you will find out what appeals to you.
Have fun!!!!! Take lots of pictures, but not at the expense of looking only using the viewfinder. Too many folks go on vacation and only see through the viewfinder.

Also, just a word of caution with polarizers. Anything really wider than about 24mm wide (ie 18-24mm), the lens will be too wide for the polarizer to apply its polarization evenly across the image - in particular, the sky. Also, polarizers do not stitch well.I am also going to add one additional item. With a K50, you have the same sensor as in the K5/II/IIs. There is very little that sensor can not do. You can even print 20" x 30" with it. ISO 100 to 3200 is very easy with it. It takes noise reduction processing very well. It has excellent dynamic range. When in doubt - take the picture and worry about processing it later. You really do have everything to take any image you can conceive of. You are only limited by your own thinking.


Last edited by interested_observer; 05-17-2014 at 12:09 PM.
05-18-2014, 12:30 AM   #14
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Hi Ctopher62,
these guys have given you good advice for starting out with landscape photography, but i'll add my devalued 2 cents worth. If you can, see if you can book a days tuition with a good photographer specialising in landscapes. You'll learn lots in a very short time frame and most of these guys follow up with advice and support for former students. Save the money you don't spend on fancy lenses now for more trips to exciting locations. But most of all Enjoy!
05-18-2014, 04:13 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
I completely agree about the merits of the superzoom. I went for 6 years with a Tamron 18-250 as my only lens. Landscapes, wildlife, people, buildings, pets, close-ups - it did the lot.

Many people on these forums are sniffy about superzooms (jack of all trades, master of none, slow, lots of distortion, soft in the corners, and so on). We tend to forget their advantages:
1.You always have a suitable lens on the camera for just about any situation, as Adrian says.
2. Don't have the weight and bulk of multiple lenses.
3. Not having to change lenses minimises the risk of dust on the sensor. (While the 18-250 was my only lens I rarely got dust on the sensor. Now I change lenses often, it is a constant problem.)
4. Distortion is readily fixed in PP. If you shoot in RAW (or RAW + jpg, which is what I do), get a program like DxO Optics Pro. It will fix distortions and aberrations it automatically, and take the images to another level.
An 18-250 (Sigma, Tamron or Pentax) or 18-270 (Pentax) is a very good alternative to the 18-55 + 50-200 combination. The IQ is at least as good.

Whether you use the kit lens combination or a superzoom, after a period of time you will find out what you shoot the most, and you can add lenses to suit if you wish. I found that most of my shots were at the widest end or the longest, so I eventually added an ultra-wide (Pentax DA 12-24) and a birding lens (Sigma 170-500). For other people it might be shooting indoors or at night (need something fast), or portraits (sharp moderate telephoto), or macros. You need to find out for yourself.

Thank you so much for your opinions on the above I have been looking at these lenses particularly the 170-500 I love photographing wildlife I just wonder about the weight and size do you find it difficult to cart?
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