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06-09-2015, 08:36 AM - 2 Likes   #1
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Philosophical musings on LBA (with humour)

I'd like to begin by posting a poem I found on a second-hand bookshop's website, and I'm sure the parallels will quickly become obvious.

A threnody - to the memory of books which
one only realises too late that one should have bought-

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er hill and dale;
When all at once I cried aloud,
I'd seen a sign: "Old books for sale".
A hundred saw I at a glance
I broke into a little dance.

May, Baldwin, Oxenham, Brazil,
Brent-Dyer, Needham, D.F.B.,
A reader there could browse at will
Through such a jocund company.
I looked inside - I almost spat:
"Those books aren't worth a fifth of that!"

Now oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon the inward eye
The curse of readers' solitude.
I realise now with bitter pain,
I'll never see those books again. (anon
)

Substitute "that glass" for "those books" and insert reference to lens types as appropriate, and you can see where some of this is heading. I'm sure a lot of us have been there - in a camera store or a pawnshop, looking at a lens and wondering if we should get it, deciding not to, and finding out only much later that what we thought was an expensive luxury was in fact a bargain-basement steal that is rare as rocking-horse droppings and fetching fantastic prices on e-bay or similar. The ghost of previous missed opportunities can hurry many a hand towards the bidding or "buy now" button, or towards one's wallet in the flea market or bricks-and-mortar store, especially if the lens in question is of a good reputation and long since discontinued.

I'm sure that given unlimited funds and/or time, there are some people who would buy every Pentax, Takumar and compatible third-party lens ever made and go on buying them until they had "good" copies of each. I can't really object to that on a philosophical level - some people just have the collector mentality and that's all there is to it. Some of them shoot all their lenses enthusiastically, and they are a valuable resource when they take the time to share their experiences.

Some others accumulate expensive high-end glass like it was a holy grail of photography - surely good gear must guarantee good photos? - and with them I must disagree. But then again, it's their money.

Others decide they want to make a bit of money seeing how cheaply they can acquire old lenses before selling them on at a profit, and I'm sure that with enough patience and luck, this can be quite lucrative. It does tend to drive up the price of a particular lens somewhat, but business is business.

I do have a problem with those who collect rare lenses only to hoard them and never put them on a camera, especially if multiple copies of the same lens are involved. To me that's just straight-out selfishness, unless it's in the context of a museum.

But what of Mr or Mrs or Ms Average Photographer? How does their disease develop?

1) Start with a DSLR and a kit lens, say, 18-55mm.
2) Some things are too far away! Add a long-end zoom, starting roughly where the kit lens leaves off and extending out to somewhere between 200 or 300mm (as labelled on the lens). Or ditch it for an 18-250+ mm superzoom; whatever.
3) Decide you need a prime - this usually ends up being 50mm, because that's what Baby's First Prime has always been. Now begins the Prime Addiction.
4) Have kids, who grow into teenagers and do sports or ballet or some such. Now you have decided you need a fast zoom. Say hello to your new f/2.8 zoom lens in the 70-200 bracket.
5) The kids are on holidays, there's no more sports, and you go travelling. Isn't that scenery wonderful? Adorama are right round the corner from your hotel in the nearest big city, and there's a DA15 in the window. Or maybe you end up in a people sort of place, say Hong Kong or somewhere else where camera shops abound. What was that your friends were saying about a DA 21 being just great for a walkaround?
6) The kids have moved away. Gardening is your new hobby. How fascinating those creepy crawly things are, even as they munch away at your prize-winning flowers and vegetables! Gather proof of both; say hello to a long-end macro lens.
7) Your parents die, as is the way of all flesh, and you discover long-forgotten film cameras and the glass to go with them. This makes you nostalgic for the past, and you remember what your old dad said about the f/1.2 lens or the thorium Takumar he always wanted but could never find. Thanks to e-bay, the finding is easy... and so is the buying. You have become enmeshed in the manual-focus world.

At that point, God help your wallet... because nothing else will.

Do you want to escape? I'm sure you do.

Look at steps 1 to 6. Consider that every lens you buy should be bought for a reason (accepting that occasionally the reason will be "just because"). It should add to your capabilities. A stop or two of light more than you already have. A wide angle with wide apertures if you're into crowds or scenery. Weather-proofing for the beach lover or tropical traveller. A few millimetres extra at the short end (crucial);more at the long end. Macro for the researchers, entomologists, scientists and doctors. Long, fast zooms for the sports and aviation photography crowd. Fast, silent AF for the bird-watchers, paparazzi and so on. These are the hard-core reproducible characteristics that everyone can agree benefit a certain application.

Then there are the more subjective things - things like a reputation for stunning sharpness or colour rendition or bokeh, or the rare soft-focus lenses that Pentax produced at one stage. Here is where photography as science and photography as art part company, and this is probably where we see most debate.

But ultimately there are those "just because" purchases. And they're OK too, in reasonable numbers. It's when the "just because" buys start to dominate everything else that you KNOW you truly suffer from LBA.

06-09-2015, 08:52 AM   #2
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I prefer to think of LBA as an unappreciated art form.
06-09-2015, 08:55 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Pity the poor souls like me who are victims of both bibliophilia and LBA ! I attach a picture of a friend and bookseller to whom I sold a thousand or so before moving.
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06-09-2015, 09:23 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jva59 Quote
Pity the poor souls like me who are victims of both bibliophilia and LBA
You and me both.

06-09-2015, 10:38 AM   #5
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Then there are those of us who buy only what we can afford - at first. At that point in time we only lust for better glass, longer reach or wider aspect. We troll the Marketplace and EvilBay, of course, watching for the illusive great deal to present itself. A few purchases here or there later and we begin to have more equipment than we can comfortably use. Sometime after that, we justify the more expensive stuff by thinking we can replace items we already have with the new and offset the cost by re-selling the old - a natural and logical thought! Ah, but here is the insidious side of this disease. Selling on takes work, and moving on means parting with old friends. You know - you remember those times when that old workhorse took that just so perfect shot and you're just not sure if the new acquisition will do as well in those conditions, though you're sure it will be better overall. We do mean well though. We vow to take the old glass out for a spin every now and then to prove it's worth keeping if nothing else. Or we promise ourselves to finally get something back on the dust-accumulating stuff. But it's always more fun to go out shooting than the drudgery of selling.

Wow, I never realized how caught in this maze we (perhaps I should say I?) are.
06-09-2015, 10:38 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I'm sure that given unlimited funds and/or time, there are some people who would buy every Pentax
I would love to be rich and become a collector

I agree with your scenario of building a kit, except I built it over 7 years, not a lifetime
06-09-2015, 11:39 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jva59 Quote
Pity the poor souls like me who are victims of both bibliophilia and LBA !
Add music collector. And art collector. And curio collector. And at various times in the past, mineral collector.
Being a preservationist can be rough, particularly in a capitalist world.

---------- Post added 06-09-2015 at 01:52 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
But what of Mr or Mrs or Ms Average Photographer? How does their disease develop?

1) Start with a DSLR and a kit lens, say, 18-55mm.
There are many possible inroads for the disease to progress. Fortunately, I'm immune to the zoom virus, but the
disease still takes hold...

2. Drat this kit lens is slow! Where's my old fast 50? Ah!, much better!, but it sure feels 'long' on APS-C.
3. Obtain APS-C appropriate wide angle. Roomy! But it'd sure be nice to get in close.
4. Obtain macro lens. Detail! And a nice portrait focal length as well, but it sure feels clinical.
5. Obtain FA77. Pixie Dust! I'm in love, but it's still doesn't feel like the first time. Again fondle fast 50 and pine for
glory days when a lens could double as cannon fodder, then be reclaimed and still function as a lens.
6. Begin hunt for old glass. Stand helpless and open wallet for the bounty made available via the internet.
7. Justify each purchase with the adage that someday you will carefully compare and assess each lens and
purge duplicate and inferior examples.
8. Oooo, look!, yet another glorious M42 fast 50. I don't have >that< one. Must try and see how it compares
with all the others.....


Last edited by tvdtvdtvd; 06-09-2015 at 11:56 AM.
06-09-2015, 12:08 PM   #8
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Thanks, @pathdoc, for the great read.

I'll have you know, right at this moment, I'm charging up my K-01 so that I can test a K 55 F2.0 that somebody I'm about to meet at the train station is selling for $20 on Craigslist. :-)

LBA? Nah, not me....
06-09-2015, 02:45 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by tvdtvdtvd Quote
Add music collector. And art collector. And curio collector. And at various times in the past, mineral collector.
Being a preservationist can be rough, particularly in a capitalist world.

---------- Post added 06-09-2015 at 01:52 PM ----------



There are many possible inroads for the disease to progress. Fortunately, I'm immune to the zoom virus, but the
disease still takes hold...

2. Drat this kit lens is slow! Where's my old fast 50? Ah!, much better!, but it sure feels 'long' on APS-C.
3. Obtain APS-C appropriate wide angle. Roomy! But it'd sure be nice to get in close.
4. Obtain macro lens. Detail! And a nice portrait focal length as well, but it sure feels clinical.
5. Obtain FA77. Pixie Dust! I'm in love, but it's still doesn't feel like the first time. Again fondle fast 50 and pine for
glory days when a lens could double as cannon fodder, then be reclaimed and still function as a lens.
6. Begin hunt for old glass. Stand helpless and open wallet for the bounty made available via the internet.
7. Justify each purchase with the adage that someday you will carefully compare and assess each lens and
purge duplicate and inferior examples.
8. Oooo, look!, yet another glorious M42 fast 50. I don't have >that< one. Must try and see how it compares
with all the others.....
Your part 2 essentially represents the prime-only branch point from my part 3. Well-stated.
06-11-2015, 10:17 PM   #10
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Its Not LBA.....its simply making lists and filling them !
SMC-A List.....SMC-K List.....Pentax-F List.....and last but not least.....S-M-C Takumar list.
My LBA is simply Cured......however Im still working on the LFA (List Filling Addiction) that's the hard one to break......lol.
06-22-2015, 08:28 AM   #11
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I have concluded as a rule of thumb that starting from scratch, a wide angle, a normal, and a short-tele prime, and zoom coverage from 18mm to 200 or 300mm is a reasonable set of lenses. Everything beyond that is LBA unless employment demands/is paying for it.

Then again, unless it gets to the point where the bills are unpaid, the children unfed, their bodies unclad and their feet unshod, who said LBA was a bad thing?
06-22-2015, 08:57 AM   #12
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Start with a KX and K50/1.4 in 1977. Slowly accumulate K lenses as means permit. Add a K10D after 30 years. Replicate each focal length in autofocus, always intending to sell the manual focus equivalent. Never get around to selling.

Make a decision to simplify. Seek and buy low-serial FA Limiteds for use on all cameras, funded by sales of everything. Never get around to selling everything.

Oh well. The entire kit cost an average $200 a year.
06-22-2015, 11:13 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Replicate each focal length in autofocus
Heh. I'd originally considered putting in an exclusion to cover that but things were becoming too unwieldy and lawyer-speakish, so I just nominated starting from scratch, trusting that this would cover the need to cater to an autofocus camera.

And I can well understand never selling anything. When my kids get old enough to trust with a DSLR, I'm going to buy them an expendably cheap second-hand body and slap the second-rate lenses I've kept on them, then shove in an 8MP card and send the little darlings out into the world to do their best (or worst) and not come home till it's dark or the card is full. If something breaks, well, that's life. If they can keep it safe for a year, I'll buy them fresh glass if they want it.
06-22-2015, 12:26 PM   #14
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I started with a 18-55 kit and a 55-300 that was all part of a K-r bundle.

A year after that I bought a DA* 55mm because I was looking for a good, fast portrait lens.

A year after that, I bought a DA 15mm. I am a member of that cult now for sure.

A year later, I bought a K-3, gave the 18-55 kit lens and K-r to my daughter, and added the DA 35mm/macro.

I'm sure I will replace the 55-300mm with the better 60-250mm at some point, but other than that I'm done (I hope, lol).

Regards,
Dan
06-23-2015, 08:53 AM   #15
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And to think all I wanted was a WR 18mm-to something telephoto Zoom.... and a 28mm , 35mm, and a 50mm prime.....that was all I needed ! It was so simple and inexpensive !
How it turned into two large Ice Chests full of lenses is beyond me....????
Damn Lists.....that's what did it !
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