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01-07-2009, 02:08 PM   #1
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n00b question

some background about me:
I'm new to dslr photography. I finally decided to step up to a dslr from PnS a few months ago and I bought myself a K2000. Since buying the camera, I've learnt quite a few things about my camera: the aperture settings, the shutter speed, exposure (I'm still not good at getting the perfect exposure when shooting shots that have both well-lit and dark regions), white-balance and ISO ... I'm getting there.

Now that my interest has piqued and I'm getting better shots, I'm thinking of investing in good lenses. I have already bought two lenses other than the kit lens that came with the camera.

First, after doing much research, I bought the SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4 Prime Lens. This was the first time that I felt "proud" of my photographs! I think this was an investment well made...

Next, just a couple of days ago, I bought the 75-300mm F4.5-5.8 SMCP-FA J AL Zoom Lens. I did not do any research on this and just bought it because it was affordable and I wanted a telephoto lens with a good zoom. I haven't tried this one out much and the few shots that i tried were pretty good.

Now, my two-fold question (sorry for the long-winded personal background):
I have absolutely no idea on what the different acronyms on the lens stand for. I do know that DA has something to do with digital and SR is shake reduction (IS), but what do these other acronyms mean? SMCP, FA, J, AL, IF, ED, SDM, *, etc. Is there any Pentax resource website which I can refer to and understand what this means?

My second question is, When buying my next lens, what should I be looking for? Like, which among the above acronyms should influence my buying decision one way or the other? What do you professionals look for when buying a lens?

// end of long-winded post

01-07-2009, 02:20 PM   #2
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Hey,
I don't really know too much about lenses and won't bother giving you a poor recommendation haha. However, I was doing some research yesterday and I came across this site that explains the acronyms. Hopefully it helps!
Pentax Digital Camera and lens resources from Photo.net

Also make sure you check out the lens review database on this forum! A lot of good input on a bunch of lenses. I just bought the SMCP-FA 50mm f1.4 today! good to know that you've had great experiences with the lens!
01-07-2009, 02:35 PM   #3
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Original Poster
thanks juicebox ... that link really helped (although, now I have a bunch of new questions ;D )

oh, and you're gonna love the SMCP-FA 50mm f1.4 for sure ... it's really an amazing lens!
01-07-2009, 03:24 PM   #4
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[quote=timberspine;442762]
Now, my two-fold question (sorry for the long-winded personal background):
I have absolutely no idea on what the different acronyms on the lens stand for. I do know that DA has something to do with digital and SR is shake reduction (IS), but what do these other acronyms mean? SMCP, FA, J, AL, IF, ED, SDM, *, etc. Is there any Pentax resource website which I can refer to and understand what this means?[/quote[
  • SMCP, properly SMC-P = Super Multi Coated Pentax.
  • FA = autofocus with an A setting on the aperture ring
  • J = FA without an aperture ring. Only works on cameras that can set the aperture.
  • AL = contains an aspherical lens element (expensive and good)
  • IF = Internal focus
  • ED = Extra low Dispersion glass element = expensive and good
  • SDM = Supersonic Drive Motor = in lens focusing motor. quiet.
  • * = upper range of quality in the lens line, similar to Canon L series
  • DA = Digital = might not cover a full 35 mm negative if used on a film body. Functionally identical to the FA lenses.
QuoteQuote:

My second question is, When buying my next lens, what should I be looking for? Like, which among the above acronyms should influence my buying decision one way or the other? What do you professionals look for when buying a lens?

// end of long-winded post
If you are willing to use manual focus lenses, you can use any lens with an A in the designation. With those, your camera will operate the aperture properly, as long as the lens is in A position.

If you really get into telephotos, you will want something with better quality than your FA-J lens. In particular, something that will have a faster aperture at 300 mm than the FA-J 75-300 you have. It is a full stop slower at 300mm than the DA* 300mm - which costs what it is worth 4 times the zoom.

Personally, I find the longer the zoom the less I like it compared to fixed focal length (prime) lenses, and the shorter the zoom, the more I like it compared to prime lenses.

I am not a professional, although I have done photography for money.

01-07-2009, 03:41 PM   #5
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thanks canada_rockies!!

question:
so are FA lenses not "well-suited" for DSLRs or does it not make much difference if you use FA instead of DA? (i understand that J < *)

p.s.
i like your photos!
01-07-2009, 03:54 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by timberspine Quote
thanks canada_rockies!!

question:
so are FA lenses not "well-suited" for DSLRs or does it not make much difference if you use FA instead of DA? (i understand that J < *)

p.s.
i like your photos!
Thanks for the p.s.

FA lenses work just fine on DSLRs, but also work just fine on film SLRs - the field of coverage at the film/sensor plane is large enough to cover 24x36 mm, while the DA are only expected to cover 16x24 or so. There are some coating differences on the digital lenses that can make a difference in difficult lighting conditions such as with many light sources in the picture. The digital lenses will not flare quite as much.
01-07-2009, 04:17 PM   #7
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thanks for that info ... although i have never done film photography, i think i understand what you are saying.
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