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05-12-2007, 12:47 PM   #1
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Help selecting first lenses

Hello everyone,

I bought a K10d in March 2007, shot some amazing night shots,all credit to the cam, got the first prints,and feaked out ....the stupid overworked canon printer I got my prints on created bands on my print and I was certain that the K10 d was at fault. My conclusion was based on the fact that my 3 long exposure shots had the bands and one short exposure had none. Anyway, after much hullaballoo the whole thing got settled and now I am ready to take the plunge into the big lens-world.

I need your help regarding which lenses should I absolutely have in my kit. My husband will be in New York this summer and I am going to ask him to pick up these lenses from there. I will be really grateful for your help,since I can't make much of the lens reviews.

I am into :

1. landscapes,I wish to use polarizers.

2. candid street photography,unobtrusive

3. portraits

4. low light shots,though I haven't yet got the technique.




Apart from lenses meant for these situations,if there's any other that you think one must have in one's kit,please do let me know that too.

For my part,I've been hearing good things about the Tamron 90mm macro and the Pentax 50mm 1.4. Please do share your own experience.




Being a novice,I have a few novice questions,will be very thankful for the info:

1.What exactly does the term "fast lens" mean? A lens with fast autofocus or a lens with a wide aperture?

2. When a lens name reads,say,50mm f1.4,what does 1.4 stand for and what does it imply?

3. What does the term 'constant aperture' mean?

4. How are macro lenses different from normal and zoom lenses?

5. What does a teleconverter do?




Many thanks for your help. I hadn't ever handled a camera before I bought my dslr and am completely lost with it . Though I manage to get good pics sometimes,I don't really know how I made them. But that will make another topic.


Best Regards

05-12-2007, 01:12 PM   #2
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I can't really make any recomendations on the lenses, as of yet I have three. I do use the 50 (not the f/1.4 one though, just f/2) and the 77 for portraits (The FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited is fantastic) but I will answer your questions.

I would think that the 40mm pancake would be pretty unobtrusive and for tighter shots you could use the 70mm (which is smaller, but slower than the 77). You'll need something wide for landscapes too.

QuoteQuote:
Being a novice,I have a few novice questions,will be very thankful for the info:

1.What exactly does the term "fast lens" mean? A lens with fast autofocus or a lens with a wide aperture?

2. When a lens name reads,say,50mm f1.4,what does 1.4 stand for and what does it imply?

3. What does the term 'constant aperture' mean?

4. How are macro lenses different from normal and zoom lenses?

5. What does a teleconverter do?
1. A fast lens is a lens with a wide aperture. Most things I've read peg a fast lens at or below f/2.8.

2. When you read your lens name the f1.4 (I always type f/1.4) is the widest possible Aperture.

3. A constant aperture means that a zoom-lens maintains the same widest aperture throughout its focal length. On the kit-lens it is f/3.5 - 5.6. That means the widest aperture is different across the zoom-range.

4. A Macro lens has increased magnification compared to other lenses. A true Macro has a 1:1 ratio. That means the image will be projected onto the film/sensor exactly the same size as it is in real life (I believe this is dependant on how close you are...minimum focusing distance...someone else can clarify I hope).

5. A teleconverter increases the focal length of the lens. All you do is multiply the lenses focal length by the teleconvertor factor. That way you can greater reach without buying a more expensive telephoto lens. The downside is that they reduce the amount of light entering the camera (in other words change the widest aperture). And you must either use a slower shutter speed (harder as you increase focal length and don't use a tripod) or increase the light on your subject.

Hope that helps,
Sean B.
05-12-2007, 06:58 PM   #3
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For the type of photography you mention, here are my recommendations, based entirely on my own highly subjective experience:

DA 21mm (the next one on my list to buy)
FA 31mm (Love it, love it, love it, but at upwards of $800 and hard to find, the FA 35mm seems a lot more sensible)
FA 50mm (Amazing. Cheap. You must own this one. If the look and feel of a lens are important to you, the FA 43mm is of far better-feeling construction)
FA 77mm (Another one missing from my kit. I'd also consider the DA 70mm, but for me I want the option of using a film body with it)
05-12-2007, 07:01 PM   #4
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Oh, and I also have the older, manual focus version of the Tamron 90mm macro. It's a fabulous macro lens. I imagine the newer one is good too.

05-12-2007, 07:56 PM   #5
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Ditto for most of what Finn had mentioned.

I would love to have a hand on Voiglander 125mm f2.5 macro to give it a go though ...
05-12-2007, 09:04 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Finn Quote
For the type of photography you mention, here are my recommendations, based entirely on my own highly subjective experience:

DA 21mm (the next one on my list to buy)
FA 31mm (Love it, love it, love it, but at upwards of $800 and hard to find, the FA 35mm seems a lot more sensible)
FA 50mm (Amazing. Cheap. You must own this one. If the look and feel of a lens are important to you, the FA 43mm is of far better-feeling construction)
FA 77mm (Another one missing from my kit. I'd also consider the DA 70mm, but for me I want the option of using a film body with it)
I cut this down to the DA21 + FA35 + DA70

I found the 50 wasn't really needed for me between the 35 and 70 (I have heard a number of others found the same thing).. And the FA35 is IMHO not that far off the FA31 in quality, though a long way off on price...

Of course thats all subjective too
05-13-2007, 04:15 AM   #7
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Thank you for your replies.

balofagus, big thanks for the clarifications.

Couple more :

1. Some lens reviews say, "stopped down it has excellent sharpness". What does 'stopped down' imply?

2. When checking the specifications of a lens, how should I read the info? For example, the lens specifications of Pentax lenses, what information can be inferred from the no. of elements, no. of aperture blades etc. What is good?

3. When a lens has a constant aperture, does it mean it will be open at the same size and cannot be made smaller or larger, or that at telephoto it is capable of the same aperture as at wide angle?


4. For landscapes, prime or zoom? Personal preference or definite advantages of one over the other?



I have been thinking of getting a 50 -200 or a 70-300 mm for street photography. I prefer to be at a vantage point and not move around much.Would that be a good choice or getting a prime with a teleconverter be better ?



Many thanks.
05-13-2007, 04:52 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Chilichoco Quote
1. Some lens reviews say, "stopped down it has excellent sharpness". What does 'stopped down' imply?
Stopping down means selecting a smaller aperture, ie. f/22 as opposed to f/2.8.

QuoteOriginally posted by Chilichoco Quote
3. When a lens has a constant aperture, does it mean it will be open at the same size and cannot be made smaller or larger, or that at telephoto it is capable of the same aperture as at wide angle?
When a lens has a constant aperture, it means that that aperture is available throughout it's entire focal range.

QuoteOriginally posted by Chilichoco Quote
4. For landscapes, prime or zoom? Personal preference or definite advantages of one over the other?
Generally speaking, prime lenses will always have better optical quality than zooms so I would stick with a nice wide angle prime for best image quality. However, a zoom can be nice in that you can try out different compositions at different focal lengths since it's not always necessary to get the widest angle for landscapes. It could help you see your surroundings a little different.

QuoteOriginally posted by Chilichoco Quote
I have been thinking of getting a 50 -200 or a 70-300 mm for street photography. I prefer to be at a vantage point and not move around much.Would that be a good choice or getting a prime with a teleconverter be better ?
If you're not into moving around too much, a 50-200mm zoom would probably be a better option since a prime would give you a limited focal range.

Hope that helps.

05-13-2007, 05:30 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Chilichoco Quote
Thank you for your replies.

balofagus, big thanks for the clarifications.

Couple more :

1. Some lens reviews say, "stopped down it has excellent sharpness". What does 'stopped down' imply?
Many thanks.
The smaller the F stop number, the more you can blur the background. the bigger the F stop number, the more background and foreground you will have in focus.
so, for example, F 2.8 has only a small amount of subject in focus around the point that you focused on, so this is nice for portraits... this is known as a "fast" apeture...
If you choose F 22 then virtually all of the background and most of the foreground will be in focus, thus it is good for things like landscapes. F22 is known as a "slow" apeture.

stopping down for sharpness: if a lens says for example 50mm 1.4 the 1.4 is the fastest apeture this lens can deliever. most lenses are the sharpest 2-3 stops slower then that...
so the max. sharpness of a lens with 1.4 would be around F 2.8-F4.

hope this helps a big

cheers

randy
05-13-2007, 08:39 AM   #10
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Autofocus or no?

One thing to consider is whether you really need or want autofocus. I am a neophyte photographer, and find that I prefer to manually focus just because it is quieter and less obtrusive

Also, don't disregard the older M and K lenses. Although you have to use the "green button" (AE-L on my DS) to stop them down, the build quality is superior to the newer lenses. And you can buy a lot of these for the price of the FA 77 I'd suggest a set like this:

28 f2.8
50 f1.4
Pentax SMC-A 70-210mm f4 or tamron 80-210mm f3.8-4 (model 103A) w/ adapter
135 f2.8 or 3.5
1.4x teleconverter

The 50 1.4 with the 1.4x teleconverter is equivalent to a 70mm f/2, pretty close to your FA 77 f 1.8.

I have an M 120mm f2.8 and find that it is my favorite walking around lens, light, long enough for the occasional critter, unobtrusive enough for the occasional human. You can crop a fair amount to zoom after the fact, so don't rule out a 135mm f2.8 prime. If you can crop and enlarge 2x and still get the same image quality as your zoom at 300 f5.6, then you've come out ahead, and two stops faster.
05-13-2007, 08:59 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Chilichoco Quote
1. Some lens reviews say, "stopped down it has excellent sharpness". What does 'stopped down' imply?
For a good primer on aperture, I found this very helpful:

A Tedious Explanation of the f/stop
05-13-2007, 02:49 PM   #12
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Hi guys and thanks so much for helping out!!

Toshi.....big help!! Thanks a lot.

slipchuck...... ....it does double!!

Finn, theapodan thanks to you too. Everyone who helped,in case I am forgetting.

Trouble is I am so new to this,I have no idea about manual anything except Aperture and shutter priority. I'm still learning my cam. So right now, in true novice spirit, autofocus sounds much better But I may change my mind as I understand my camera better.


I was wondering, would you put any of the third party lenses as better than any of the Pentax ones in any category? If you do,especially for the 30 and 50 mm prime, and a wide angle and a 18-200 or higher please do let me know. It would save me experimenting and help the money be spent well.


Thank you so much for your time.

Joele........does the moderator HAVE to look like that? ....we all promise we'll be good ..... Thanks for your reply too.





Many thanks and Regards
05-14-2007, 04:01 AM   #13
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Another interpretation for "fast lens" is any lens that make your hard-earn cash disappear very fast!! This is closely related to LBA, Lens Buying Addiction/Anonymous. Be warned!

cheers
Kenny
05-14-2007, 09:31 AM   #14
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Hi CC, most of your questions have been answered, but I'd like to present a few different opinions.
Prime vs zooms. Modern day zooms are MUCH MUCH better than the older ones, especially in image quality. the main reason I choose a prime is a) price: primes are (generally, but with notable exceptions) cheaper than zooms of equal quality and b) low light capability, a good prime is usually capable of getting 2 or more f stops over an equal quality zoom.
What lenses?
Given your newbieness (is that a word?) I'd wait a bit. I'm assuming you have the 18-55 (kit) lens and nothing more? I'd suggest getting only the DA 50-200 for now, it's a nice lens, not great, not terrible, and it complements the 18-55 very well. After a while of shooting with these two a pattern will emerge on what focal lengths you use most often, and whether or not you would want something with better low light capability. (faster lens) Based on your shooting patterns you would then be able to make a better decision on what you want/need.

All that being said, if pressed, besides the two above mentioned lenses, for a "complete bag" I'd recomend a true macro lens (Tamron 90mm; Pentax 50 or 100mm macros, Sigma 50 or 100mm macros) the Zenitar 16mm fisheye (great little lens, inexpensive and fun fun fun!) a "fast" lens for low light situations (Pentax FA 50mm F1.4...many others) and one good telephoto prime of 300mm or more. (the last is an option, but I've found that there is no substitute for a good long lens, and the DA 2-50-200 isn't quite there IMHO)

NaCl(hope I haven't confused the situation further)H2O
05-14-2007, 01:11 PM   #15
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Hi NaClH20,

thanks for your information. No you haven't confused me at all Thing is I know what exactly I want to capture and my subjects are sometimes near and sometimes far, so I think I'd need at least one long zoom and one prime,the 50 mm f/1.4, coz the 18-55 doesn't allow me to shoot available light shots which I prefer. The macro like the Tamron 90 mm and wide can come later .

Thanks and Regards
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