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01-26-2009, 03:01 PM   #1
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Help with lenses

Hi all
I have the K100D super which I've been using for the last 18months, I only have the standard lens that it came with and a telephoto which is manual focus only.

I am struggling to take photo's in low light due to the standard lens being F5.6 lowest
I want to be able to take photo's indoors and in low light. I have no idea what I'm looking for and would appreciate any advice. I have heard that F2.8 right through is good??

I also like to take landscape photo's too so would I need a different lens, wide angled maybee?? How much would I be looking to pay

As you can see I've really no idea


01-26-2009, 03:25 PM   #2
Ari
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You can still get the fa50 1.4 for around $200 bucks:
Pentax | Normal SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4 Autofocus Lens | 20817 | B&H
Was my favorite lens till I sold it for the fa31ltd. You should get a fast lens if you want to take pictures in lower light without a flash. If you want to get a general purpose, wide angle to telephoto for indoor and some landscape work (some folks prefer fixed length, some like zoom, some like both) you may like this:
Pentax | SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED SDM Lens | 21650 | B&H Photo
I have it's bigger sister, the 50-135, and have been pretty happy with it.
Of courese, you should check the photographer's marketplace for some great deals (members here take very good care of their gear, and I've had great success buying and selling there). Also, check the lens review database.
Good luck!
01-26-2009, 03:41 PM   #3
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I don't find that F2.8 is fast enough for a lot of indoor ambient light shooting. I'd recommend a faster prime like the FA 50mm F1.4, FA 35mm F2.0 etc.
01-26-2009, 03:45 PM   #4
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Hi Jaxter!

That's a great little camera, that is actually quite good indeed at low light capture. You'll need a fast lens, as you say, but the trick is that this restricts the depth of field, so it's harder to focus, and if you do nail the focus you get only a small slice (depth-wise) in focus anyway. That is not always good!

So, depending on your application, maybe the best thing is a tripod. You'll need one anyway for landscape photos, since you will likely want a very big depth of field, and that requires slower shutter speeds. You do not want to bump up the ISO for landscape shots since utmost clarity is usually a prerequisite.

For landscapes I think a 28mm is the best if you want a prime. I've got an old manual focus Vivitar f/2 that is perfect. Of course I'd never be using it at f/2 for landscapes, more like f/11. But it's handy to have the extra light in the viewfinder. And I like this angle of view.

For versatility the DA16-45 is an amazingly good deal. Some like to go even wider, choosing the Sigma 10-20 as the cheapest really wide lens. Personally I do not require anything this wide for landscapes but it sure would be handy for cityscapes.

For portraits and indoor shots at a certain distance I recommend the FA43. In fact I don't think there is a lens that renders better. So nicely made, too! The FA50 is a good cheaper alternative with good IQ, especially if you stop down a bit. (Which you can afford to do since it starts at f/1.4.)

01-26-2009, 04:04 PM   #5
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Jaxter,

welcome to the forum

Sure, f/2.8 is far better than 5.6. In fact, it means the lens gets in 4 times as much light, and therefore allows you choosing a shutter speed that is 4 times shorter, like 1/40s instead of 1/10s. Most likely your shots suffer from camera shake or motion blur in low light at the moment, caused by too long exposures.

Most people use a 2.8 standard zoom for well lit indoor shots with sufficient electric light or daylight.

If you want to get 'real dark', consider something between f/2.0 to f/1.4. Compared to f/5.6, this means 8 times and 16 times resp. as much light that gets on the sensor (!). The amount of light doubles with each f-stop.

As there are no zooms that fast, it means getting a fixed focal lenght. I use a 50mm f/1.4 and a 35mm f/2 lens for parties and things like that. I've taken acceptable shots in a dark summer night outside, with a single light bulp 10 meters away with the 50/1.4 at about 1/10 second at ISO 1600.

With an f/2.8 lens, this would have required 1/2.5s = 0.4s which is not hand-holdable any more...

I recommend getting a Pentax FA 50 1.4 or the FA 35 f/2. Both are decent auto focus lenses with a nice out of focus blur and still affordable (200-300 EUR). Have a look at the lens review database for some opinions.
01-26-2009, 04:12 PM   #6
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Thanks so much for your time and replies, very much appreciated
01-26-2009, 05:09 PM   #7
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Besides a faster lens, another thing you should consider getting is a good flash like the Pentax 360 (around $200 new) or the Metz 48 (around $250 new) and a diffuser like the Sto-Fen Omnibounce. Even with a slower lens like the 18-55, a good flash will definitely help.

Not to discourage your budding LBA, though...

Heather
01-26-2009, 05:38 PM   #8
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Indoors - Good Flash

I would also suggest a good flash, as Heather has posted, but I wouldn't get the AF360 because it doesn't swivel. In that price range, I would look at Metz or Sigma, both of which have swivel heads. Then learn to bounce off of walls and ceilings, or a combination of both to get pleasing light.
Fast glass is great, and I have my share, but for indoor shots, fast glass stopped down and a flash is the way to go. Or stick with your kit lens and stop down. The DA18-55 has respectable results at f5.6 or so.

01-26-2009, 05:43 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jaxter Quote
Hi all
I have the K100D super which I've been using for the last 18months, I only have the standard lens that it came with and a telephoto which is manual focus only.

I am struggling to take photo's in low light due to the standard lens being F5.6 lowest
I want to be able to take photo's indoors and in low light. I have no idea what I'm looking for and would appreciate any advice. I have heard that F2.8 right through is good??

I also like to take landscape photo's too so would I need a different lens, wide angled maybee?? How much would I be looking to pay

As you can see I've really no idea
If you're forced to shoot at 1/2 to 1 second shutter speed when at f/5.6, f/2.8 will not save you--with 1/8 or 1/4 shutter speed, you'll still get blurry pictures and with a very narrow depth of field. Use a good flash or a tripod. I have an old M 50 f/1.7--the wide aperture helps with manually focusing in low light, but that's about all; I still use flash or a tripod at f/4-f/8.

Look at sample images done with super-wide-angle lenses (sigma 10-20 mm, pentax 12-24 mm zooms, or pentax 14 prime) and see whether they're too gimmicky looking for you. Tamron's cheapest super-wide-angle zoom is cheaper than the competition and a bit worse image-quality-wise.
01-26-2009, 08:32 PM   #10
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I vote for the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 for around 400$, IMO it's the best in it's range.
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