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09-22-2008, 02:18 PM   #16
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I have a 50mm 1.4 for low light. I will be buying a 100mm macro. But I'm having trouble justifying a short prime, because my 16-45mm is that good. I know some people find 50 mm a bit long for indoors, but I can honestly say I haven't found that. Shooting style, larger houses, I don't know, but it hasn't been an issue for me. A 35mm is too close in FL to the 50mm. The 21mm Limited is barely faster than the 16-45, and it has higher distortion. The 16-45mm has excellent contrast and is super sharp, so I have trouble believing that the 21mm would be a significant improvement.

09-22-2008, 02:22 PM   #17
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Primes all the way. But lately, I am starting to enjoy zooms. It really depends on the mood I guess. Sometimes you could have the choice to go to one or the other to benefit the change.
09-22-2008, 02:38 PM   #18
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Primes all the way. But lately, I am starting to enjoy zooms. It really depends on the mood I guess. Sometimes you could have the choice to go to one or the other to benefit the change.

I agree there... I have 3 zooms to cover my needs but sometimes my decision making is to go out with one or 2 primes... it really depends on what I am planning on shooting. If my hunger for taking photos was not like it is I would not use a zoom.

09-22-2008, 04:39 PM   #19
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Whatever I wind up doing, I won't give up zooms all together. The 55-300 is staying in my bag no matter what. The only complaint I have about it is that I wish it was a little wider, but with a second body, I can always attach a wider lens if I need it.

One thing that I've discovered since I've had the 12-24 is that I tend to shoot more towards the 24 end than the 12. Perhaps I don't need to have a lens that wide after all. I still want something wider than 28--perhaps a 21 or even a 16-45 would do the job for a good bit less money. Even with the overlap between the 16-45 and the 28-75, depending on what I'm planning on shooting, I could take one or the other, along with either the 55-300 or 100/4.

Someone on the other forum suggested that I set one of my zoom lenses to the prime length that I'm considering and tape it there to try that length out to see if it'll work for me. I think I'm going to try that over the next 3 months and see what happens with that.

BTW, my husband is one of those who isn't that patient when it comes to me taking too long to take pics. Go figure.


09-22-2008, 05:00 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
A 35mm is too close in FL to the 50mm.
Have you verified this feeling with your zoom? To me, even the DA40 is *very* noticeably wider than a 50, in a good way. 35 would be that much more so, I'd think.
09-22-2008, 05:09 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Have you verified this feeling with your zoom? To me, even the DA40 is *very* noticeably wider than a 50, in a good way. 35 would be that much more so, I'd think.
Yes, I certainly did, and it wasn't enough for me. A few steps and they're equal. The 16-45's sweet spot is 24mm. That's a significant difference.
09-22-2008, 05:42 PM   #22
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I have finished my kit...


I like a combination of fast, high quality zooms and primes.

I will attest to the wonderful IQ quality of the 16-45/4. One of the reasons that I don't have a 16-50/2.8, is the weight. There seems to be more than a bit of difference in weight between the two. The IQ is about the same from what I have seen (I know the 16-50 is a bit sharper).

I am about 99% happy with my kit now. I also have a 1.4x tele-extender that works fine with the 300. I wouldn't want anymore weight than I have now in my backpack. For general everyday shooting, the 16-45/4 does most of the work. For everyday, low light shooting - the 31 cannot be beat!

The only item that I have purchased in the last 30 days is a Slik carbon fiber tripod for travel. I have looked in the marketplace and Adorama/B&H and cannot find anything else that I want. I guess that I am spoiled!
09-22-2008, 06:19 PM   #23
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Speaking of tripods, I've got a Bogen Manfrotto 190XB tripod on order with a local camera store--I'm hoping that it'll come in soon. The BM 3001 was a bit too clumsy for me to handle and the 190XB is a little easier to handle and it has flip locks, unlike the 3001 that has the wingnut locks. My next purchase will most likely be a monopod head (my 486RC2 is a bit big for the monopod).

As I've said, I'm committed to sticking to my LBA challenge. I'm curious to see how I will feel about my lens setup come the end of December; I have 3 trips between now and then, so that'll really help me better figure out everything.

Tomorrow, I'm going to my first meeting of a photography club that has recently formed in my area; they do monthly shoots in addition to the monthly meetings, so I'm really looking forward to going out shooting with other photographers.


09-22-2008, 08:04 PM   #24
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I had been using my Nikon D50 w/ kit 18-55 lens for a few months when the AF motor burned out. I started using an E series 50/1.8 from my dad's old Nikon EM, and used it exclusively for months. Now, with Pentax, I have a 50/1.4 and (Sigma) 28/1.8. Except when friends ask for surf pictures, I've never felt to be lacking with these two lenses.

Primes absolutely make you a better photographer. They're a lot of fun, too!
09-29-2008, 07:20 PM   #25
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I started in digital only with zooms after a long period of film bodies and prime lenses. Now that I've got a digital bodies to match my set of primes, I'm really enjoying going back to old-school discipline of shooting with primes and actively looking for the shot rather than twiddling with the zoom dial.

There's something to be said about getting close and intimate with your human subjects that a zoom can't replicate.
09-29-2008, 10:13 PM   #26
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Hi Heather,
My kit lens on the *ist DS was the Sigma 18-125, which I still have. My wife uses it on the K200D and still likes it....if I quietly switch it over for something else i get a gentle but firm request of "where is my lens?"

Along the way I bought a Sigma EX DG 24 mm for the speed and found that I enjoyed using the prime and liked the results.

Since then I have added a 43Ltd, a DFA 100mm and the Pentax DA 14mm (amongst others), but that is my first choice kit now days.
I think the primes make you think more about the shot, rather than just the focal length. By that I mean I find myself thinking firstly about composition, then available light (can I make the shot work) and then the 'how'.

I have also found that I use the DFA 100 a lot when I travel, the focal length is good for that sort of travelogue stuff.

I had always said I wanted to buy a DA* 50-135 as I see many, many fantastic images from it, but I balk each time I have had the chance, opting instead for the 43 & 14.

What makes my heart quicken a little now is the DA* 300mm ( maybe the 60-250), but I am really quite happy with what I have for the time being and have no real need for anything else.
09-30-2008, 05:19 PM   #27
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At this point, I most definitely plan on keeping the 28-75 and the 50-300, as both are great lenses that I'd hate to part with. Now with a second body on the way (K200), it will most definitely make using primes easier. This is what I'm considering doing at this point:

Trade 12-24 for either the 15 (when it comes out) or 21, . I like the 12-24 a lot, but even though it's not a heavy lens, it's BIG--77mm filters vs. 49mm filters. Unless it's the only lens that I take with me on an outing, it's size makes a small travel kit not so small. If I were to get another zoom, it would most likely be the 16-45.

Replace A100 with a DFA100 for the AF.

Replace A50 with either the FA50 or DA70 (need to decide which focal length is most useful to me).

I'm still committed to sticking to my LBA challenge, so it'll be a bit longer before I make up my mind for sure.

09-30-2008, 09:42 PM   #28
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My long-winded lens buying saga, FWIW

Hello, Heather! You are in the interesting stage of your photography. The stage is the one when you are really not absolutely sure of what you want, and one can spend a lot of money working out the kinks in the kit.

Here is my current most used kit:
  • DA 12-24 (Love that super wide!)
  • DA*16-50 (I actually bought it for the extra 5 mm over the DA 16-45)
  • DA* 50-135 (Works better than I thought) Same field of view as the 70-210 on film, and a whole stop faster.
  • M 100/4 macro (Sharp as a tack)
  • M 400/5.6 (have to fiddle the CAs, but ...)
  • A 1.4X-S (The 1.7 doesn't work well on the 400 because of the CAs)
  • 50mm extension tube (The 100 goes to 1:1 and the 400 can focus closer than 16.5 feet/5 meters.
Claire is using the MZ-S and 24-90 as her standard kit.

I was lucky enough to be broke enough over my life that I had to think out every lens I bought, and had found out by the time I had the cash, exactly which way I wanted to go in focal length.

My Dad's estate bought the k10d and the three DA lenses - no worries about cash. I remember him every time I use them.

Perhaps a long winded exposition of my working lenses over the 47 years would help. Each line is the lenses in use. I have left out the lenses I did not like and changed out, such as a Sigma 170-500 AF, and a Pentax 28/3.5 Shift lens that was great in the city, but not out here, and a few other excursions into mediocrity.
  1. 55 mm
  2. 55 + 135 mm
  3. 28 + 55 + 135 mm
  4. 28 + 55 + 70-210
  5. 28 + 55 + 70-210 + 1.4X
  6. 28 + 55 + 70-210 + 400 + 1.4X
  7. 24-90 + 70-210 + 400 + 1.4X
  8. 24-90 + 70-210 + 400 + 1.4X + 100 macro
  9. Then I went digital, so the lenses changed a bit. they will stay here until January 1st - thanks to your LBA anonymous club.
  10. 12-24 + 16-50 + 50-135 + 100 macro + 400 + 1.4X + AF 1.7X
I never seemed to ever use anything between 200 and 400 on film, and I still don't. For me it's 12 - 135 and go for the birds.

Aplogies for the late night drivel.
10-01-2008, 08:07 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
I learnt my trade back in the “old days”, when primes were the only way to go because zooms then were just truly atrocious.

Even today and most everyday I still use mainly four fast primes, (both for film and digital) they are 50mm f1:1.2, 85mm f1:1.4, 135mm f1:1.8 and my most recently acquired little gem, a 200mm f1:2.8.

These are all Pentax A star series lenses, which I consider to have superb optical quality and produce the results that I need. I guess the modern day equivalents would be the Pentax Limited’s.

These lenses are just a joy to use, the way they handle, their construction and the sheer quality of the image they record.

Without getting into huge debates about primes v zooms, it’s each to their own and the way you work, for me it can only ever be about primes, but hey that’s just me.
With all respect for the A* lenses, they are not a good advice in this case. They were built as much more extreme lenses than the limiteds in terms of speed without compromises, and are hence bigger and heavier, while with the limiteds, especially the pancakes, Pentax has tried to get a compromise between speed and weight. The A*'s are all heavy, the A*85/1.4, A*135/1.8 and A*200/2.8 are 555, 865 and 850 g respectively, and hence not lighter than the heavier high quality zoom lenses Heather wanted to avoid to begin with (btw, the A50/1.2 is not a * lens, though extreme anyway).

But there are plenty of less extreme primes to choose between. Sounds like the DA pancakes would be a modern possibility. The DA70ltd and FA77ltd's are only 130 and 270 g respectively, compared to the 555g of the A*85/1.4. Those 0.5-1.5 stops took a lot of glass to achieve. I spent the Sunday carrying around the K20D, the A*85, A*135 and the DA*50-135 (plus some really light lenses that I hardly noticed in comparison: A50/1.7 and A100/2.8) for a little shoot-out between the A and A*'s v.s. the DA*, and I got a fair bit of pain in my neck and shoulder after that.

(if anyone btw are looking for a pocket sized portrait lens in the A generation, take a look at the A100/2.8, just 260g and fairly sharp already at 2.8, a gem that has never been praised enough between the more fancy A*'s and the less expensive A135/2.8... there is a slightly lighter M version with the same optical solution that I believe is more available... an inexpensive alternative to the FA77/DA70/A*85/FA*85 if you can live without autofocus)

Good luck Heather!
10-02-2008, 04:56 PM   #30
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Been shooting a lot with just primes: 50mm f/1.4, 35mm f/2, and now 135mm f/3.5. I agree, it makes you a better photographer, and you get more exercise!

I still have my 18-250mm super zoom for traveling and other situations where I can't take the time to change lenses.

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