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12-08-2008, 10:05 PM   #1
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1st Prime Lens... old topic, new thread

I'm sure this has been discussed on here before. I'm newly registered, but I've read through a lot of previous threads regarding this and other topics. However, for the sake of not missing some new enlightening thoughts before I make a purchase, I thought I'd ask...

I'm new to photography. I have a K100D Super and the 2 kit lenses and have been taking pictures with them for 8 months or so. I've read about primes being all the rage to really take quality photos. I know that the equipment is not going to take good pictures without a good photographer. But, I want a lens that I know I can't "fault" while I am continuing to grow as a photographer.

I have decided that an old M 50mm 1.4 would be a good first choice. It seems that I would be forced to master some exposure basics with one of these manual lenses, which would be helpful in the long-run.

Since 50mm is not "normal" on a DSLR, and I am losing any auto capabilities, should I reconsider? Maybe choose an FA-50, or a 35mm? I'm not 100% sure that an M lens is the best idea, or that a 50mm is the best idea either. But, I've heard about this lens being one of the best, and the wide aperture certainly seems like it would allow me to take pictures otherwise impossible with my kit lenses (especially sans flash).

12-08-2008, 10:15 PM   #2
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I have the M 50 1.4, and it is a nice lens. it is a bit "long" on a crop sensor, but that 1.4 is really nice in low light. On your K100D, you just have to go to the custom menu, and enable "using aperture ring" then shoot in M mode, and use the AE/L button to stop down meter. Set the aperture on the lens you want to use, then hit the AE/L button, and the camera will stop the lens down and meter.It works pretty well on the K100 and K110, not so well on my K10D. I have a K110D which is the same as your 100 minus shake reduction. And have gotten some nice shots with the 50mm.

here are a few samples with the M 50 1.4 on my K110D








Last edited by Stratman; 12-08-2008 at 10:24 PM.
12-09-2008, 04:16 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by idig4phish Quote
Since 50mm is not "normal" on a DSLR, and I am losing any auto capabilities, should I reconsider?
Take a stroll through the Takumar Club thread and see if you think those of us devoted to the lenses which predate the M lens you're considering are suffering by the loss of auto capabilities.

Photography with fewer functions taken care of automatically will by definition require more input from the photographer, quite naturally. But if you can't take a good photo with the lens you are contemplating (among a great many other fine Pentax lenses), then you may rest assured the limiting factor was not the lens.
12-09-2008, 04:36 AM   #4
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For what it's worth...I bought the M50mm 1.7 and loved it. I sold it within months of purchase to by the AF FA50mm 1.4 - and don't regret it.

Unless you have an affinity to focusing manually I'd suggest you save some cash (unless you are wanting to collect lenses) and skip the first step - go right for the FA50 1.4.

I did the same with an A35mm 2.8 to a FA35 2.0 - again...skip the first step if you even think you'll want AF down the road.

c[_]

12-09-2008, 05:19 AM   #5
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there are, I think, 3 types of forum members whith DSLRs.

- People who began shooting with film and manual focus, who like the new AF systems, but still like their old manual lenses.

- people who have never had other than a DSLR and auto focus and stick totally with them

- people who started with a DSLR and have ventured into the manual focus and manual control

I think you are in the second group, presently considering moving into the third.

There is nothing wrong with this. Manual everything lenses make you learn a lot of basics. you take more time with each shot, and think a little more about what you are doing.

Results with manual focus and manual apature lenses can be stunning, but don't expect them instantly. It takes a little time to get used to them, and how your camera wirks, but they are fun.

I have a mix of both, aquired over 25 years (I'm in the first group) and I have a good collection of manual focus manual apature primes 24 f2.5, 35F2, 50F1.4, 100F4 (macro) 105F2.8, 135F2.5, 300F4 all are high quality lenses. I also have a good AF zooms Sigma 10-20F4-5.6, Pentax 18-35F3.5-4.5, Tamron 280-75 F2.8 and sigma 70-200 F2.8

There is nothing wrong with either collection but I use them differently. General photography falls onto my new AF zooms. I use the MF lenses to do special shots, or special events in very low light (note I have some fast MF lenses)
12-09-2008, 07:28 AM   #6
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Go Limited

It's great fun to fuss around in manual focus land. You have tons of choices and there are a gazillion pages of breath taking photo examples on the forum. I highly recommend the voyage of discovery (rediscovery to some) offered by doing "manual."

On the other hand, if you want immediate success without the fuss (you can always "manual", later) I'd recommend a good DA "Limited" style lens, first, then a "manual" follow on. Should you take this tack, I suggest you explore the DA 40 Limited, or if your budget can handle it, a DA 35 Limited. Both DA's are great walk-around lenses and the DA 40 is very reasonably priced at about $250.

You and your friends will love either lens.

my 2 cents...

Last edited by Michaelina2; 12-10-2008 at 06:02 AM. Reason: clarification
12-09-2008, 07:29 AM   #7
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DA 35 2.8 macro
12-09-2008, 12:54 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by idig4phish Quote
I have decided that an old M 50mm 1.4 would be a good first choice. It seems that I would be forced to master some exposure basics with one of these manual lenses, which would be helpful in the long-run.

Since 50mm is not "normal" on a DSLR, and I am losing any auto capabilities, should I reconsider?
Any time you buy a prime, you need to give consideration to hat focal length you actually want - what subjects you'll be shooting, what distance you'll be from your subjects, what kind of framing you want. Although there is certainly a long tradition of having a fast "normal" prime as one's basic lens, as some other threads here will point out, it's by no means a given that this is what you necessarily should start out with as a first prime. Spend enough time with your zoom(s) to understand the situations where you find them most lacking, and see if you can figure out for yourself what focal length(s) will be of the most benefit to you. Also, FWIW, if you are nervous about MF because you find it difficult with a cheap AF zoom, well, that's largely because the zooms don't let in as much light as a good prime (making the viewfinder dim), and because the focus ring is optimized for AF not MF (meaning it turns too easily, and the throw is too short, making it difficult to control precisely). MF primes are almost always much easier to focus manually than AF zooms.

I'd get a 50 if you want to do portraits. If you're thinking more causal candids and so forth, probably something a bit wider - 30-40 or so. Meaning the FA31 FA35, DA35, DA40, and perhaps FA43 are all good choices.

12-09-2008, 04:07 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
there are, I think, 3 types of forum members whith DSLRs.

- People who began shooting with film and manual focus, who like the new AF systems, but still like their old manual lenses.

- people who have never had other than a DSLR and auto focus and stick totally with them

- people who started with a DSLR and have ventured into the manual focus and manual control
Don't forget the 1B group..."People who began shooting with film and manual focus, who love the new AF system, and will never return to MF lenses again."

...or maybe I'm an anomaly.

c[_]
12-09-2008, 07:52 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ll_coffee_lP Quote
Don't forget the 1B group..."People who began shooting with film and manual focus, who love the new AF system, and will never return to MF lenses again."

...or maybe I'm an anomaly.

c[_]
At least you said it first

Actually, I thought about this, as there are many forum members who's eyesight has, for example, degraded, to the point where they find MF a real pain.

When I moved from my Ricoh XR2s and KX to the PZ-1, I went for a while doing AF only. At some point I switched back after the novelty wore off,

Both have their uses, and as I said, I use AF for some things, and MF for some things.

In fact, when ever I get my next DSLR, I will convert the K10D to a MF only body and add a split image. I am also thinking about getting a second *istD body for the same purpose, perhaps a dedicated M42 body where I never take the adaptor oout
12-09-2008, 08:23 PM   #11
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I'm in the group who has tried both and most definitely prefers AF lenses on her DSLRs. With that being said, I've used manual film bodies and I really enjoy the feel and operation of them. Having a split focusing screen (Katz Eye) on any SLR--digital or film makes a world of difference when using manual lenses. As mentioned before, manual lenses are best used when you actually have time to focus properly--not terribly efficient for action shots.

I also recommend the DA35 for it's utility as both an excellent all-purpose and macro lens. I like it's sturdy metal build and the built-in hood.

One thing to consider with AF lenses is that you do have the option of switching to manual focus if you either want or need it.

HTH,
Heather
12-09-2008, 08:31 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote

Both have their uses, and as I said, I use AF for some things, and MF for some things.
t
...That's the piece there. I don't mind using MF lenses, but it's not my preference and I think a lot of it has to do with what you shoot. I shoot people and more specifically children and families, so MF is no good for me. A nice landscape shot though, or some macros of bugs/plants....I can certainly see the appeal.

c[_]
12-09-2008, 10:38 PM   #13
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Nice photos Strat. I have one of those "old" 50mm f1.4 lens, granted I don't use it that much, but it VERY cool as I paid $25 for it. Go for it!!
12-10-2008, 07:11 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
there are, I think, 3 types of forum members whith DSLRs.

- People who began shooting with film and manual focus, who like the new AF systems, but still like their old manual lenses.

- people who have never had other than a DSLR and auto focus and stick totally with them

- people who started with a DSLR and have ventured into the manual focus and manual control
I started off in Group 2 ... and moved to Group 3 (and still use a little AF here and there).

But now I am thinking of doing a reversal of Group 1 on the side as well ... just for a bit of fun and further learning.
12-10-2008, 07:35 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by CaymanImaging Quote
Nice photos Strat. I have one of those "old" 50mm f1.4 lens, granted I don't use it that much, but it VERY cool as I paid $25 for it. Go for it!!

I bought mine attached to a very nice K1000, got the combo for $60, then traded the K1000 for a used Bogen Manfrotto 3001 tripod, so it was a nice deal !!
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