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08-02-2008, 08:10 AM   #1
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Shoot with the lenses you have not the ones you dream about.

This is a response I decided to re-post as a thread to the discussion https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/32664-theory-d...-ever-tag.html
So if some of the ideas seem disjointed, you can go to that thread and see what was being discussed. But it was a thread discussion on the DA35mm Vs the 31mm Vs the 25mm Zeiss etc.

My point I feel, has a broader reach than that one thread. I sometimes wonder how the new DSLR owner or lurker reads this stuff and why so many join, post 3 times and we never hear from them again. Everyone has something to offer and I'd like to see ideas and pictures from all those old camera owners or new owners who sit in the background.

Anyway let the rant begin:
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I hate to dump on all this wonderful analysis of what I'm sure is a great lens but I find these threads a strange and funny dialog at times. Maybe I've just read far too many threads that follow this theme, maybe I'm just getting old and tired. Maybe it's more the language used than the actual thread idea itself.

I certainly hope the DA35mm gets Mike's thumbs up since the blog is read by thousands on a daily basis. It can only help Pentax (maybe they should post an ad there?). I am curious about Stevebrot's question though. I couldn't find a direct quote that he was even talking about the DA35 even after searching the blog. Maybe I missed something.

Don't get me wrong, I like owning the best glass I can afford. I think I have a decent little collection but nothing like what I see here and elsewhere. I also own some crap lenses that I still use because they offer a 'look' or effect that the super sharp, great bokeh etc, lens can't touch. Yet each lens does just what I want it to do and in most cases better than I'm able to push it.

I've seen some pretty fine images come from some fairly 'pedestrian' lenses and I always find it funny when someone says "WOW great shot what lens?" The answer comes back, an FA 70-200 or something similar. Don't take that the wrong way 70-200 owners, the viewer expected an A*135mm f1.8 or FA85mm/1.4 because the shot looked so good. It's a compliment to your shooting style using what you have to work with.

I agree with the OP's earlier comment that the thing Mike might be seeing is a combination of DA35 and K20D sensor. Really how could he not? The one thing I lament with DSLR's over film is that every image from your DSLR will be basically the same. With film, if you wanted a certain look, warmer, colder, more/less grain, more/less contrast, you changed the film to suit the shooting project, even half way through a roll! Can't change the sensor and the only option is Photoshop. So I'm fairly sure it's as much the sensor as it is the lens.

So back to my mini rant. The statement that caught my attention was the following (from Mikes article):
QuoteQuote:
And now for my thoughts on maturity...
(he's referring to testing a lens Vs using a lens)
But here's what's interesting: the opposite is also true. When I'm actually out photographing—that is, out and about pursuing "real" pictures—the kind I actually want to look at—I never pay the slightest attention to the technical properties of the lens. Then, the goal is to forget the equipment. What I've learned about the lens with my test photos might inform how I use it, how I go about approaching something, but once I've decided a lens is okay, I just photograph with it. If some slight technical flaw shows up in a picture, I don't obsess about it.

And when you think about it, isn't that really the mark of maturity in a photographer? He or she does the necessary research, acquires the equipment needed to do the work, but then gets on with the work. And forgets about the equipment. When you're photographing, technique should be transparent.
Taken from: Maturity in the World of Digital Photography - photo.net


So like any of us, I get a new lens and test it out, take a few shots of various tough subjects, review the images, maybe compare it to one of my known "standards" and then the lens goes in the bag or is returned/sold. Every lens has a strength or weakness but frankly these are quite minor. My Tamron 28-75mm/2.8 can have double line bokeh when there are sticks in a close up shot and the sun is bright. So I don't use that lens in those situations. No reason to sell it or look for a 'better' lens though.

After that, it's as Mike said "I just photograph with it. If some slight technical flaw shows up in a picture, I don't obsess about it". Most minor issues can be corrected later but that doesn't happen often. I know I can post a picture from a zoom and no one can tell it wasn't a prime most of the time. Sure I realize a resized Jpeg is far different than a RAW file. I know certain lenses will do certain things better or worse. But I do print quite a bit, at the corner kiosk and a pro lab using TIFF versions. I'm happy with the results from my primes, my zooms and my crap lenses.

I hope the debates on every lens continue. I learn some stuff from those that have 'better' gear than I do. Heck I play a part in that myself having recently published a comparison of the FA50/1.4 and FA50/2.8 macro.

These threads serve a purpose. I respect everyone here who has posted and those lurking that want to know more about the tests. It's not a complaint because these threads can help those that have limited resources to make the best choices. But if a 31mm or a 70mm is way out of your needs and budget but the 2 kit lenses are affordable. Then I hope the new owner feels they have a good quality setup. Because they do.

My point is, don't make lens collecting and getting the ultimate lens for the focal range the goal. Those who are lucky enough to acquire [what's considered] the best lens for the focal range should be careful. Don't become elitist or intimidating to the new DSLR owner with a kit lens. The goal is the photograph. If it's a good one, I for one, could care less if it was taken with an Albinar.

So anyone know the lens used (without looking at the EXIF)?



Last edited by Peter Zack; 08-02-2008 at 09:31 AM.
08-02-2008, 08:24 AM   #2
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I totally agree with your assessment Peter. Being retired on a pension does not leave me with oodles of extra money to keep upgrading or searching for the holy grail of optics. I do have plenty of time and determination to make what I have already acquired (body, lens, and software) give me the best results possible. Being an old dog has not hindered my ability to learn from the more talented/experienced who post to this forum. I usually skip over the LBA posts and focus on the photos, contests, and discussion of techniques that are top draw here. At present I am working on some tailored Lightroom Presets which I hope to post soon for comments from other K10D owners with Lightroom.
08-02-2008, 08:29 AM   #3
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hard not to get caught up

would love to say it was the 28 I sold you but I seriously doubt it I agree that it is hard when you see all the shots here with various lens not to get excited about them. I no longer feel the need to go out and get the new lens because its just released or reviewed. I think that I may be at a place that I am comfortable with my selection it lets me take the pics I want and has plenty of room for me to grow with.
08-02-2008, 08:37 AM   #4
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Well written, and certainly a healthy post for someone like me who mostly lurks around since I know nothing about dSRLs and lenses in general.(Buying my first on monday, a k20d + unsure of lens).

It can easly start feeling like the kitlens isn't worth anything, and unless you upgrade to a much better zoom + some Ltd. primes directly you wont be able to make anything of your camera at all.

I've started to doubt this is the case though, and chances are the kitlens would be more than plenty to last me for a very long time, posts like these helps me continue thinking so even when reading through all the LBA threads.

Thank you

08-02-2008, 08:46 AM   #5
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I'll let the cat out of the bag early. That picture was shot with the old kit lens 18-55mm. Even the cheapest of lenses in the Pentax line will do a fine job once you have practiced with the gear and understand how it works. I understand th new version is even better.

That was my point. Get a camera you can afford, maybe a *istD used somewhere and a couple of lenses that you like. Enjoy the process more than the LBA hype and the buying. My favourite lenses are not some of my "best". They are just ones that do what I want to get the image I'm looking for.

This wasn't a thread about "it's the photographer not the gear" but more about enjoying what you can afford to own and sharing it with the rest of us or just having a great moment at home looking at the shot you printed which means something to only you.

Btw, congrats on the new camera Karn. I'm sure you will have fun!

Last edited by Peter Zack; 08-02-2008 at 09:20 AM.
08-02-2008, 09:06 AM   #6
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Must agree with you Peter. It's fun to obsess over lenses. But even more fun to just use them. For all my posts here I take photos every single day and share lots... even in threads that don't otherwise have photos. Because that's what it's about.

Flip side: I do like using the best tool for the job. But I am not a lens collector; I am an image collector.
08-02-2008, 09:16 AM   #7
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Wise words Peter, contentment is rare these days. A reminder to be thankful for what I have (college money for my boy will take care of the rest)
08-02-2008, 09:20 AM   #8
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Peter,
Thank you for the fresh thread and the carefully thought out message. I really can't add a word to what you have already said.

Oh, but then again, maybe I can! My mother was admiring some of my photos (it is good to have a mother to do that...) and asked me what it takes to make good images. This is what I told her:
  • You have to be there to take the picture
  • You have to have a camera
  • You have to be aware enough of your surroundings to see that there is a picture to be taken

Optional
  • It helps sometimes if the camera is capable of capturing what the mind's eye sees

The first point is the most important. So, if you want good pictures, get out in the world and take some. If you do primarily table top or studio work, see that you spend some time in that space.

'Nuff said...

Steve

BTW...Great shot of the boat skeleton.

08-02-2008, 09:37 AM   #9
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Agreed Peter

Taken with a $40 used lens on a 6.1MP DS:



Great or expensive glass is only making your options easier in certain situations.

Regards,
Marc
08-02-2008, 09:46 AM   #10
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But in case you are not convinced, there is a SMC Pentax 50mm 1:1.2 over at E**y with a bid of $202.50 at this moment. You LBAers have an obligation to bid that baby up. I'm sure it will improve your photography. Or maybe not!!!

Usual disclaimers: In no way associated, etc.

Plus I'm waiting for the Gold one. K 50/1.2 (Gold)

Bill
08-02-2008, 10:18 AM   #11
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Very well summarized. However, attached is a shot of the same boat, same day, but with a 31ltd, so maybe there is something to the "magic" that is ofter referenced?...

Last edited by beaumont; 02-06-2011 at 04:28 PM.
08-02-2008, 10:22 AM   #12
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Confessions of a Lens Buying Addict (Long)

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Peter,

[...]

what it takes to make good images:
  • You have to be there to take the picture
  • You have to have a camera
  • You have to be aware enough of your surroundings to see that there is a picture to be taken

Optional [my emphasis]
  • It helps sometimes if the camera is capable of capturing what the mind's eye sees

The first point is the most important. So, if you want good pictures, get out in the world and take some.
QuoteOriginally posted by 35mmfilm_user Quote

Great or expensive glass is only making your options easier in certain situations.
I write this long response for anyone reading this thread who WANTS to take photographs and who feels caught in the "I will when I have the right equipment" trap. I have been there, and to a lesser degree I still am.

In 1977 my grandmother gave me a KX + K50/1.4 as a college graduation present. She called it a thinking man's camera. (I didn't really understand why, nor even remember that comment until a few months ago). I took documentary snapshots, and not many of those.

In 1984 I won an MESuper + M-50/1.4 + AF200S in a contest. I opened the UPS package at work and my cell-mate (we didn't call them cubbies in 1984) said, "Wow, you got the fast lens!" I didn't know what he meant. I took vacation memory shots and once or twice actually tried to compose a decent background with my wife or family in the foreground. I have ONE color print of my family in a SW Colorado mountain valley that I could post here - in all those years.

In January 2004 my daughter took a college landscape course in New Mexico. She needed a fully mechanical camera and wide lenses, and I still had the KX, and there was lots of stuff on ebay, so I researched and bought the best I could afford. Boz had his site up, as did Stan and Mark Roberts, and J. Colwell's SPLOSDB was current. I went into collecting frenzy, seeking to get my daughter a backup body and the finest Pentax manual glass available. After her course my daughter kept the backup KX and the K lenses (24, 28, 35, 50, 135, 200 - I know, the course said wide), but I kept going. At one point I had 16 bodies and over 50 lenses - and I hadn't run a roll of film through ANY of them. I sold off everything I could except MY 2 cameras and put the unsold stuff in a box.

My daughter gave me back all the Pentax stuff as my Christmas present this year along with a mounted print from her course, an article about the K10D and a note challenging me to "become a photographer, not a collector." Actually, I thought that was a really nice gift.

How I do not know, I found this Forum and started lurking. I read and see Peter's, and Marc's and Jay's and Rosemary's posts and understand that their kits are far more rational than mine. I see many, many fine photographers selling lenses that I lust after, and still posting great pictures. Sometime recently I began to understand the point of this thread.

I bought the K10D at the end-of-model price and even bought a few MORE manual lenses, plus the FA50/1.4 and FA 35/2. For some odd reason, just HOLDING a Pentax body or lens gives me an unexplainable pleasure unlike holding any other camera equipment - they just feel and look right to me. But I have recently sold some of this stuff, although letting go of it is HARD.

I have decided that to a degree I will permit myself to keep more camera equipment than logic says I should, but limit myself by a rule that I must USE everything periodically.

And there, my friends, is the rub.

I have to take pictures.
I have to get out of my house to take pictures.
I have to have at least an idea of how the camera works.
I have to pay attention to what I am doing and look at my pictures, and learn from the experience.
I have to pay attention to what is around me.
I have to see the beauty in that to which I am paying attention.

When everything comes together I will have SOME nice captures; and I will have some bummers. That's better than no photographs!

I shot a roll of film with an ME + 50/2.0 that I have for sale here. Technically, this isn't the greatest picture ever, but it tells the story I saw. I actually bracketed the shot because I wasn't sure about the bright sun - and I know the highlights are blown in the upper left.



It's ironically fitting that the two pictures I have taken in the last 10 years that actually approach what I dream of doing were done with an ME + 50/2 and an MESuper + 50/1.4 (not that either of those combinations is a crap set up).

So if you are lurking on this thread, mount a lens on your camera and get some light onto the film or sensor - Just DO It!

Last edited by monochrome; 08-03-2008 at 05:38 PM.
08-02-2008, 11:01 AM   #13
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DA 50-200 kit lens

Sample of action photo with this lens:



It can be done.... as monochrome stated... just go take photos!

Regards,
Marc
08-02-2008, 11:09 AM   #14
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There goes that idea

QuoteOriginally posted by beaumont Quote
Very well summarized. However, attached is a shot of the same boat, same day, but with a 31ltd, so maybe there is something to the "magic" that is ofter referenced?...
WOW. You blew my theory totally out of the water (pun intended). Your lens is so much better that the boat floats! You got so much detail my lens missed like the deck and cabin. Nice B&W shot btw.

Last edited by Peter Zack; 08-02-2008 at 11:33 AM.
08-02-2008, 11:28 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
WOW. You blew my theory totally out of the water (pun intended). You lens is so much better that the boat floats! You got so much detail my lens missed like the deck and cabin. Nice B&W shot btw.
Can't take credit for the shot as it's not mine. Thought it might be good for a laugh though.
As the song goes, "love the one you're with", and I couldn't agree with you more. Some of my favorite pictures I've taken with my fathers old manual 50 on my 10D. (However, my ability to manual focus isn't what it used to be...)
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