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11-16-2009, 02:55 PM   #1
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Auto or Manual?

I'm about to buy my first Dslr; the Pentax Kx(hoping the DP review will come out by the time I get the money together). I'll be a total newbie to slr photography despite the amount of reading I have been doing. So my question is, along with my kit lenses, which should be my first prime? I'll practice on the kit lenses first, of course, and won't have alot to spend. I'll probably get a 50mm, but as a beginner should I go for autofocus and the extra cash that might entail, or manual with the smaller price tag but possibly larger learning curve? Long winded question over.

Thanks alot!

11-16-2009, 03:16 PM   #2
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Well there are four types of lens you can go for:

Autofocus (F, FA, FA J , DA) - Most expensive, but do everything for you.
Auto aperture Manual focus (A) - Medium Expensive, but work on dSLR, minus focus.
Manual Focus (K, M) - Cheaper, Need to be stop down metered on dSLR.
M42 Screw Mount - Cheapest (?). Like the other MF lenses but also need an adapter.

The image quality of the primes was good throughout all the series. The build quality and focus 'feel' gets better the further away you get from AF.

Generally speaking, if you don't have a split prism focussing screen I would stick to AF lenses. If you want to learn about how aperture affects your final image get one of the pre-'a' lenses, they don't make lenses like that any more!
11-16-2009, 03:32 PM   #3
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Use the kit lenses pretty long time before buying a new lens, I suggest. Believe me you will have better idea about you next lens. But, if you want something for low light photograpy buy the FA 50mm f/1.4.
For a beginner, I don't suggest manual lenses, you may have a hard time for focusing and miss some beautiful shots.
11-16-2009, 03:39 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emre Quote
Use the kit lenses pretty long time before buying a new lens, I suggest. Believe me you will have better idea about you next lens. But, if you want something for low light photograpy buy the FA 50mm f/1.4.
For a beginner, I don't suggest manual lenses, you may have a hard time for focusing and miss some beautiful shots.
I would recommend buying MF lenses . You learn better what photography is about. And if you don't know what lens to take: they are dirty cheap, so you can try different lengths etc...

Remember this: 15-20 yrs ago, nobody started with AF lenses, everyone had to learn it via MF lenses, just because AF did not exist. These are the people who know really about photography.... (oh, and btw, I am not part of that group...).

11-16-2009, 03:47 PM   #5
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I'd say to look at the Pentax-A 50mm f1.7. It's a fine lens and you'll only have to learn to focus manually, which really isn't that hard to do. I've been finding that I get better results by ignoring the in focus beep and using the MK1 eyeball, even without a split focussing screen to help!

If you find that you like the focal length you can easily sell the lens on for more or less what you paid, and buy an auto focus version.

The older K and M lenses aren't hard to use either, just a little more involved due to not having the A position on the aperture selector.
11-16-2009, 07:18 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emre Quote
Use the kit lenses pretty long time before buying a new lens, I suggest. Believe me you will have better idea about you next lens. But, if you want something for low light photograpy buy the FA 50mm f/1.4.
For a beginner, I don't suggest manual lenses, you may have a hard time for focusing and miss some beautiful shots.
I have a 9 year old student, whom has only tried an autofocus lens once. The kit lens, which came with the K100D I gave her.
It only took her a couple of days, before she pretty much had focusing mastered.
Although there are some lenses, with an incredably narrow DOF I'd avoid.
11-16-2009, 07:28 PM   #7
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I'd get an A-series manual lens. That way you can still use all the camera modes, and just get used to manually focusing. You can find a 50mm f/2 (decent) for ~US$25 or a 50mm f/1.7 (amazing) for 3-4 times that.
11-16-2009, 09:57 PM   #8
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Use the kit lens to learn for yourself what focal length(s) you might like enough to get a prime. If you want to get a prime to start too, then get an MF one for now - no sense spending a lot of money on a prime that might not turn out to be a focal length you like.

11-16-2009, 11:40 PM   #9
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Many thanks all. If I do go manual and replace the focusing screen, is this something I can do myself or would I need to take it to a pro?
11-17-2009, 07:13 PM   #10
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Don't assume that getting a manual lens means you need to replace the screen. Many of us do fine with the stock screen - although I do recommend the inexpensive O-ME53 viewfinder magnifier to help a little. Since the Kx has liveview, you can also use that for help fine tuning focus in some situations.

Anyhow, the K-x like most other entry-level models (and unlike some higher end models), wasn't designed to allow the casual user to replace the screen, but I it *is* possible.
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