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10-31-2008, 08:51 AM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by tomtor Quote
Are you cheating? The 50-200 is not in your list of four
True. I guess I meant, it might *replace* the M28/2.8 on my list of four lenses to get first, even though it currently is not one of my four most-used lenses. For that matter, it's conceivable a fast 50 would make the starter list too, even though I currently use that even less than the DA50-200.

A little bit off-topic - but not really:

Often people (myself included) express surprise and disappointment that while a *fast* (f/2 or better) normal lens was pretty much a *given* on film cameras - it was the "kit lens" on most - that doesn't seem to be the case with digital. The kit lenses are relatively slow, and even most of the affordable normal-ish primes are only f/2.8. Similarly for other focal lengths and their digital equivalents - it was generally easier & cheaper to build a "fast" collection of primes of given focal lengths for film than it is to get the equivalent focal lengths on digital.

For DOF reasons, I can certainly see why this might be cause for alarm. But for *speed* - that is, getting faster shutter speed in a given light (particularly low light), it seems to me that high ISO capabilities in digital probably exceed what exists - or what was commonly available and practical, anyhow - for film. That is, if you wanted a shutter speed of 1/30" indoors and the highest speed film you could stomach using was 400, then you needed f/1.4. But with most digital SLR's, performance at ISO 1600 may be such that you can get the same shot (except for DOF effects) at ISO 1600 and f/2.8. But that's just a guesstimate based on fairly limited experience with film. I'd be curious to hear form folks with more experience - how *does* ISO 1600 on a modern DSLR compare with film?

10-31-2008, 09:11 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by dafiryde Quote
I laughed when i read Thom Hogan review on buying a tripod, as this goes the same.
We know what we should buy, but watch the price and by something cheaper, then we are not pleased, so we go and buy what we should have bought the first time. by that time, we spent moore.

Food for thought, if you are in a position to start over, think about your needs, and experience, then purchase.

Dave
i agree with this statement totally. no point coveting the good stuff and buying a lot of almost-there replacements when you could save money by buying the good stuff first.

the lenses i've wheeled and dealed out
da21, fa35, s-m-c macro tak 50, m50 1.4, m28 3.5, tamron 28-200, a50 1.2
i've lost some serious change pushing those lenses out, but i feel better afterwards. i don't like having stuff sitting around not doing anything. what a waste.

for me, i'm really happy with what i have now. i've basically started from scratch again and it feels gooood.
3xFA Limited + 55-300. in reality for most stuff, could go with only the FA43 and FA77
10-31-2008, 09:13 AM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote

For DOF reasons, I can certainly see why this might be cause for alarm. But for *speed* - that is, getting faster shutter speed in a given light (particularly low light), it seems to me that high ISO capabilities in digital probably exceed what exists - or what was commonly available and practical, anyhow - for film. That is, if you wanted a shutter speed of 1/30" indoors and the highest speed film you could stomach using was 400, then you needed f/1.4. But with most digital SLR's, performance at ISO 1600 may be such that you can get the same shot (except for DOF effects) at ISO 1600 and f/2.8. But that's just a guesstimate based on fairly limited experience with film. I'd be curious to hear form folks with more experience - how *does* ISO 1600 on a modern DSLR compare with film?
The last fuji/kodak 400 iso slides I used about 10 years ago have significant less IQ than the images of a k20d at 1600 iso. The comparison is hard because no sharpening/nr had been applied to those slide images. The slide grain did however have a nice paintbrush like structure.

I would estimate the speed advantage of the digital equipment at 3 stops.
10-31-2008, 09:36 AM   #34
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If I could only have four:

12-24
da35macro
50-135 (would replace my fa77 with much pain)
sigma105 macro

I don't own the da50-135 yet and I'm glad that I may keep the fa77 in the real world.

I would loose the long end in this list. That's a shame.

An alternative:

18-250
Fa31 (or future da*30)
sigma105
60-250 (or da*300)

10-31-2008, 09:37 AM   #35
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I guess, with the lens lineup I have, some might say I'm was more concerned about ease of use than quality, currently having 5 zooms and one prime, but the DA* zooms that I take everywhere sacrifice little (if any, given my level of expertise) quality. So....

I could live with what's in my bag right now :
DA* 16 - 50, DA* 50 - 135, FA 50 1.4, and a Pentax AF 1.4x
but since the OP allowed 4 lenses, I'd look at the DA* 200 or 300 too...
(not sure whether to go with the fast long, or the just slightly slower loonnngg)

Like many, I started with cheap consumer grade lenses, zooms around the f4-5.6 range, and though some of them weren't bad, in hindsight I wish I'd waited and bought quality originally, but since this ride started in the '80's for me, none of the lenses in my list existed then, s I guess some degree of "lens kit evolution" is inevitable over time, both through tech advances, and my own improving (albeit slowly at times) photography skills...
10-31-2008, 09:49 AM   #36
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I could live with the 3 lenses in my bag now (DA21, DA35 and DA70), but for a 4th I would be torn between the DA*200 and the upcoming DA15. Fortunately, I don't have the funds right now to worry about that decision ;P
10-31-2008, 09:54 AM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
True. I guess I meant, it might *replace* the M28/2.8 on my list of four lenses to get first, even though it currently is not one of my four most-used lenses. For that matter, it's conceivable a fast 50 would make the starter list too, even though I currently use that even less than the DA50-200.

A little bit off-topic - but not really:

Often people (myself included) express surprise and disappointment that while a *fast* (f/2 or better) normal lens was pretty much a *given* on film cameras - it was the "kit lens" on most - that doesn't seem to be the case with digital. The kit lenses are relatively slow, and even most of the affordable normal-ish primes are only f/2.8. Similarly for other focal lengths and their digital equivalents - it was generally easier & cheaper to build a "fast" collection of primes of given focal lengths for film than it is to get the equivalent focal lengths on digital.

For DOF reasons, I can certainly see why this might be cause for alarm. But for *speed* - that is, getting faster shutter speed in a given light (particularly low light), it seems to me that high ISO capabilities in digital probably exceed what exists - or what was commonly available and practical, anyhow - for film. That is, if you wanted a shutter speed of 1/30" indoors and the highest speed film you could stomach using was 400, then you needed f/1.4. But with most digital SLR's, performance at ISO 1600 may be such that you can get the same shot (except for DOF effects) at ISO 1600 and f/2.8. But that's just a guesstimate based on fairly limited experience with film. I'd be curious to hear form folks with more experience - how *does* ISO 1600 on a modern DSLR compare with film?
Actually, although relitively fast by today's kit lens standards, th. F2-50 that was the "standard" kit lens, and F1.7/1,8 were marginal upgrades were slow back then. The F1.4 and F1.2 were specials, and considered fast

As things advanced, and autofocus . auto flash etc came about, the perfromance requirements changed. AF could work with F4-5.6 range lenses, and cheap zooms in these ranges were the new "kit". My PZ-1 came with a 28-80 F3.5-f4.5 for example, and the AF500FTZ had a focus assist built in. There was no longer a need for ultra bright view finder for the split image focusing screen, which was one reason to push fast glass. Also, with the advent of AF most focusing aids disappeared.

Really the prime lens replacement with cheap slow zooms was made possible due to technology, and made AF SLRs much more desireable as a result.

As for your last point, 1600 ISO compared to film, forget about it, start with 3200ISO today VS film. I shot Tri-X for many years pushed to 3200 and I can tell you that today, even the very first Pentax DSLR, the *istD is orders of magnitude ahead of film at high ISO, and newer cameras are getting better and better. I really have no understanding why, except for lack of ever trying with film, people complain aboiut high ISO performance today.
10-31-2008, 09:56 AM   #38
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DA12-24 for work
FA31 walk around
FA77 for portraits

if I were paring down I wouldn't necessarily need a fourth. Maybe the DA 50-135mm, a good-but-I-don't-love-love-you lens

10-31-2008, 11:46 AM   #39
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I have the following lenses now:

Tamron 28-75
FA35 f2.0
FA50 f1.4
FA77 f1.8
Sigma 70mm macro

If I had to shave one off I would shave off the 77 and keep the Sigma (it's that good). I do like the look of the 77 picks though and use each of these lenses equally.

The only change I would make is that I wouldn't have bought the 50-200 (sold it because never used it), nor would I have bought the MF 50 1.7 (sold it for an AF version), nor the MF 35 (going to be selling it now that I have the AF version). I bought the cheaper MF versions first though because I wasn't sure how often I would use those focal lengths on a prime lens (even though my exif indicates I use these lengths frequently). The nice thing is - I will recoup near all the money I put in to buy those lenses...so no harm/no foul.

I'm happy where I am now. May switch out the 77 and the 50 for the upcoming 55* to lighten the load a bit (pending on the quality of the 55* images and it's 3d ability).

c[_]
10-31-2008, 12:47 PM   #40
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It may seem to have taken years to get it right, but I feel I'm there now and I'm a happy bunny (I have no LBA).

In picking just 4 from my lens selection, I would have to say that, this 4 are in daily use and cover most of my required assignments, you will note these are all manual focus (I just like the feel and control I get from them).

All the lenses are A Series Pentax, which work equally well with my Pentax LX film SLR's and also my more modern day DSLR's (K10Ds and I guess will also work fine on the latest K20Ds), the last three lenses are green star versions.

1) 50mm f1:1.2
2) 85mm f1:1.4
3) 135mm f1:1.8
4) 200mm f1:2.8

Last edited by Kerrowdown; 10-31-2008 at 01:05 PM.
10-31-2008, 01:12 PM   #41
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I'm where I want to be right now:

- DA 12-24mm (on the way)
- Sigma 24-60mm
- DA*50-135mm

Those 3 lenses cover the range in which I shoot 95% of the time (I don't even carry the Tamron 70-300 anymore).

If I had to keep only 4 lenses, I'd probably opt for the FA50 over the DA10-17 only because of the functionality of the fast prime. The speed comes in handy at times, but I would really miss the Fisheye. If I absolutely had to have the FE, I think I kit like this would work:

- DA10-17mm (Fisheye)
- Sigma 17-70mm (pseudo-macro capability)
- DA*50-135mm (normal to tele)
- FA50mm (low-light)
10-31-2008, 04:35 PM   #42
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The original question posed was;
QuoteQuote:
...If you could do it all over again...starting from scratch...which 4 lenses would you choose?
I don't know if 'starting from scratch' is the appropriate phrase as I have bought lenses and tried and experimented and have now come to a new opinion as to what I should have in my camera bag. I have always favoured primes - comes from my old film days - but I really wanted to give zooms a try in recent years. Overall, I still find myself twisting on a prime lens because that is what I like. I find I fiddle too much with the telephoto lenses and have a hard time deciding which focal length suits a particular shot. I bought the DA 55-300mm in the spring but haven't had it on the camera for more than a few times, so it is probably going on the auction block soon.

More than just primes, I find I am attracted to manual focus primes; a real challenge until the Katz-eye split screen arrived. Wow, what a difference!

So here the four lenses I choose now. I don't necessarily own them all, but I can dream - right? I have 2 out of the 4 so I'm getting there!

If I owned these 4 I would be very happy.

Zeiss 35mm f/2 ZK Distagon
Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4
Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 ZK Planar
Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 125mm f2.4 Macro
10-31-2008, 06:29 PM   #43
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I already have the four lenses I would buy if I had to start over.
DA 16-45mm - sharp, great colour & contrast, love the wide end
DA 55-300mm - great colour & contrast, versatile (f/4.5 up to 210mm). 300mm is a necessity for me.
FA 50mm 1.4 - superfast, very sharp, good portrait length for indoors
D FA 100mm macro - 1:1 macro with good working distance, supersharp, long portrait length.

For my money, this kit is highly satisfying. OTOH if you're paying, I would likely change some of my picks. In real life I want more than four lenses. The DA 18-250mm lives on my K100DS and that combo is a lot of fun. And an A 28mm f/2.8 for $35, who wouldn't want that? I want a superlong lens next, and the Sigma 170-500mm HSM looks highly appealing.

Last edited by audiobomber; 11-01-2008 at 06:00 AM.
10-31-2008, 07:09 PM   #44
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If I were to limit it to AF lenses only:

FA 50mm f1.4
Da 55-300mm
Sigma 105mm EX DG
DA 35mm ltd f2.8

Lenses including AF & MF:

Tamron 180mm f1.8 SP Adaptall 2
Sigma 105mm
FA 50mm f1.4
DA 35mm ltd f2.8

This is based lenses I currently have. If I were to do over, I would go with the second set but replace the tamron with a DA* 300mm f4.
10-31-2008, 09:38 PM   #45
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Starting from scratch hmmmm good question and only 4 lenses you say. Of my current collection my four most frequently used lenses are:


DA 70 2.4
A 100 2.8 macro
K 200 2.5
K 300 4.0

I have a K 24 2.8, which is the widest lens in my bag, but you did limit us to four lenses.

If money were no object and I were starting over I would still stay with primes and might opt for something like this:

FA 31 f 1.8
DA 70 f 2.4
A* 200 f 4 macro
DA * 300 f 4

I think this list would suit me just fine for a while.

Cheers

Tom G
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