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04-16-2010, 02:27 AM   #1
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Lens purchasing: Order of acqusition?

I've been scouring the "club" threads for photographs and info, and people's prefs for lenses, and based on some of the shots and some of the posts, I've decided that I want to acquire some DA Ltds, OR some FA Ltds as well as the Tamron 90mm macro (with which I should be able to use my old 55mm Hoya filters)

So here's what I am thinking right now:

15mm for wide and architecture
35mm for almost everything and macros of inanimate objects and plants
40/43mm for almost everything (not sure if its overkill to have both 35 and 40/43 but I'm tempted mostly by 43)
70/77 for a slightly longer almost everything.
and the 90.

What I was thinking was the 35 first... I'm more inclined to photograph flowers than bugs, leaves than spiders: I do photograph bugs too but so far have been unsuccessful... hence my desire for the 90.

I'm seeing some wonderful shots from the street, as well as portraits and macros... so for immediate go-anywhere flexibility I am leaning more and more to the 35 as a starting point.

I'd love some advice on this, because I am sort of stuck. One minute its the 15, then the 21, then the 35, then the FA 35... in the end I'm just confusing myself and I need to start somewhere.

All advice greatly appreciated.

04-16-2010, 03:30 AM   #2
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That's a nice line-up. However, I would replace the 43mm or 35mm with a 135mm.

Kind regards
.lars
04-16-2010, 05:24 AM   #3
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I started out with a somewhat opposite approach - with zooms, and then acquired a prime, the 31 Ltd. I use it in a panoramic approach, multiple stitched shots as opposed to a single frame image. The results have been wonderful - its a great lens, extremely sharp, tremendous color and the 31mm focal length on the APS-c sensor has the same field of view as the 50mm focal length using a 35mm film medium that was so successful with film. So, yes - I would opt for the 31 Ltd first (from what I have observed using it) and then build around it as a foundation. The only negative is that its an expensive lens.

Also, since I am writing here, just another observation - and not really intended to change your mind at all. I had acquired a set of (zoom) lenses over time that I have been very happy with, and was somewhat looking at the 21. I mainly like the wide angle end of photography, and was possibly thinking of something a bit smaller and lighter to complement the 12-24 that I was primarily using. The 15 and 21 are great little lenses, however, I do have to say that the 12-24 can almost be thought of as a set of primes. In a number of reviews, that comment has been made when comparing the lens resolution of the 12-24 to both the 15 and 21. My experience is that it is that good, to the point that I have never really pushed myself to ultimately acquire either the 15 or 21.

I have found that working with both the 12-24 and 31, that there is a wonderful complementary interaction there - and let me explain. In that you only have a fixed number of pixels on the APS-c sensor, the wider the lens you used, the more area each of the pixels represents within the image. With a narrower focal length, each of the pixels represents a smaller amounts of the image, thus the resulting image tends to be inherently sharper (and becomes stunning with the superior optics of the 31). So, what I have found is that the resolution of the 12-24 lens, essentially negates the need for multiple primes, while still maintaining image quality. Usually that is not the case, where the primes excel over the zoom. The obvious physical difference is the larger size and weight, against having several smaller and lighter primes.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference, however whatever approach you take, you have a set of great Pentax optics to choose from. There is really no downside.
04-16-2010, 05:45 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by kyteflyer Quote
I've been scouring the "club" threads for photographs and info, and people's prefs for lenses, and based on some of the shots and some of the posts, I've decided that I want to acquire some DA Ltds, OR some FA Ltds as well as the Tamron 90mm macro (with which I should be able to use my old 55mm Hoya filters)

So here's what I am thinking right now:

15mm for wide and architecture
35mm for almost everything and macros of inanimate objects and plants
40/43mm for almost everything (not sure if its overkill to have both 35 and 40/43 but I'm tempted mostly by 43)
70/77 for a slightly longer almost everything.
and the 90.

What I was thinking was the 35 first... I'm more inclined to photograph flowers than bugs, leaves than spiders: I do photograph bugs too but so far have been unsuccessful... hence my desire for the 90.

I'm seeing some wonderful shots from the street, as well as portraits and macros... so for immediate go-anywhere flexibility I am leaning more and more to the 35 as a starting point.

I'd love some advice on this, because I am sort of stuck. One minute its the 15, then the 21, then the 35, then the FA 35... in the end I'm just confusing myself and I need to start somewhere.

All advice greatly appreciated.
I will have to admit, looking at your present line up you seem to have duplicates at virtually all focal lengths. specifically caused by the 18-250. WHat do you do with this lens that you don't do with the 18-50 and 50-300 pair?

If you respond that you use it to avoid changing lenses, then I am really confused about why you are looking at primes.

but aside from that issue. Exactly what do you want to do with the primes and what are your photography interests in general.

WIthout knowing that it is really hard to advise on the first lens you should get.

In fact, when I look at your kit, it might be better served first by adding an ultra wide zoom, than a prime lens.

I think you would find either the sigma 10-20 or poentax 12-24 a good lens to have. And I would place this as more important than a 15mm prime. My reasoning is as follows:

- when I shot film exclusively I had a 24 mm wide angle. I found it to be not wide enough for many shots, especially travelling in europe, where it is hard in many cities to step back far enough to fit everything you want in the field of view the 24mm lens had on a film body.

- when I started shooting digital , my *istD came with an FA-J 18-35mm lens, which on the ASP-C sensor had even smaller field of view, than a 24 on my film body. BUT, the FA-J 18-35 was a full frame film lens, which allowed me to put it directly on my PZ-1, and go a lot wider than what my 24mm was able to do. Finally I had the field of view I wanted, and when travelling I took 2 bodies, my *istD and my PZ-1, using the *istD for all but wide angle shots, and wide angle remained on film.

I finally bought a sigma 10-20 and retired my PZ-1 but that was 2 years after I got the *istD. I shot film and digital for 2 years.

While I am sure the 15mm is a nice lens, I think you need to explore the full range of ultra wide before you get a wide angle prime.

04-16-2010, 05:46 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Recercare Quote
That's a nice line-up. However, I would replace the 43mm or 35mm with a 135mm.

Kind regards
.lars
Thanks for that, but I'd like to hear a rationale for such a massive change... theres a rather large difference ... 100mm extra?
04-16-2010, 05:49 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
The obvious physical difference is the larger size and weight, against having several smaller and lighter primes.
The physical difference is what will decide me. I have been having huge issues with carpal tunnel in both wrists, and have to wear a brace of some kind, for a lot of the time. I'm looking for as light as I can go without having to give up DSLR entirely.

I'll look into the 12-24 though, I cope OK with the weight of the 18-55s, and the 70-300. On the issue of the 18-250, I'll answer in response to a post which has just come in...
04-16-2010, 05:54 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I will have to admit, looking at your present line up you seem to have duplicates at virtually all focal lengths. specifically caused by the 18-250. WHat do you do with this lens that you don't do with the 18-50 and 50-300 pair?

If you respond that you use it to avoid changing lenses, then I am really confused about why you are looking at primes.
Perhaps I should take the 18-250 out of my sig. I haven't used it in months because I just don't really like it that much. (btw it was 18-55 and 70-300 for the other two)
QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
but aside from that issue. Exactly what do you want to do with the primes and what are your photography interests in general.
I thought I had explained that in my first post. Perhaps I need to be clearer. Bugs. Flowers. Landscapes. Buildings. Street. People.

I'm looking for better IQ and also lightweight.
04-16-2010, 05:57 AM   #8
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Get the ones you want when you see them!
otherwise you may not be able to find them for a while...

04-16-2010, 06:04 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
Get the ones you want when you see them!
otherwise you may not be able to find them for a while...
This is true. I've been looking at B&H and they have the DA35, and the 15 as well, for a decent price.
04-16-2010, 06:25 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kyteflyer Quote
Thanks for that, but I'd like to hear a rationale for such a massive change... theres a rather large difference ... 100mm extra?
The 35mm and 43mm are pretty close in FL. To have both is overkill in my opinion, especially if you have the macro covered with the 90mm.

I find 135mm quite useful outdoors and it would be nice to have when your 90mm is too short, but a 24-28mm can also be useful when your 43/35mm is too long.

Kind regards
.lars
04-16-2010, 06:42 AM   #11
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Kyteflyer

Your answers and previous posts make things somewhat clearer.

Let me give you some insite into my recomendations.

My own thinking is that you need to build a kit that covers from 10mm at the wide end to 200mm+ at the long end.

For me, weight is not an issue, and I have from 28-200mm covered at F2.8 but it is heavy, and perhaps today with improved high ISO you can let this go to F4 or even F5.6 as long as the lenses are good quality. This is a trade you can make and you could, for example keep the 18-55 and 70-300 if you are happy with them.

What I see in your line up that is really lacking is getting down to 10/12 mm. which is why I suggested Ultra wide zooms in the first place.


As for the remainder of your interests, depending on what you consider :macro, i.e. do you really want true 1:1 or is 1:3 OK, this may be achievable by changing out the 18:55 with something capable of close focusing and 1:3 reproduction perhaps a tamron 28-75 for example.

It is not that I am against primes, (I have alot myself) it is just that I use primes and zooms somewhat differently, zooms are for travel,, where I take between 2 and 4 plus a TC to cover from 10-400mm, but if activities are resticted or otherwise special / specific functions I will take only 1-2 primes, or 2 zooms to cover reduced range of options.

Also primes are used generally wide open for me, because I want either very narrow DOF or I want very low light photography where my zooms, even at F2.8 are not fast enough.
04-16-2010, 01:43 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Recercare Quote
The 35mm and 43mm are pretty close in FL. To have both is overkill in my opinion, especially if you have the macro covered with the 90mm.
You are probably right, I'll give that some thought.
QuoteQuote:
I find 135mm quite useful outdoors and it would be nice to have when your 90mm is too short, but a 24-28mm can also be useful when your 43/35mm is too long.

Kind regards
.lars
OK, thanks for the explanation, clearer for me now
04-16-2010, 01:52 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
My own thinking is that you need to build a kit that covers from 10mm at the wide end to 200mm+ at the long end.
I won't be able to get a "big" prime with a constant aperture simply because of the weight. I'm afraid the 70-300 will have to do, and I mostly shoot at 300 when using that lens, mostly for birds. Example is in my PPG.

QuoteQuote:
This is a trade you can make and you could, for example keep the 18-55 and 70-300 if you are happy with them.
Yep, thats the plan. Initially I bought the 18-250 for exactly the reason you thought I was going to use. But, it stays home. After the first flush of having a new toy... it turned out not to be what I wanted, after having lusted after it for a good 12 months. This is why I am consulting here... don't want to make the same mistake. I might break it out again from time to time but right now that doesn't seem very likely.
QuoteQuote:
What I see in your line up that is really lacking is getting down to 10/12 mm. which is why I suggested Ultra wide zooms in the first place.
I can see why you'd do that, and I had not considered going as low as 10, must look into that a bit more...

QuoteQuote:
... do you really want true 1:1 or is 1:3 OK
Nope, I really want the 1:1

QuoteQuote:
I want either very narrow DOF or I want very low light photography where my zooms, even at F2.8 are not fast enough.
I'm inclined to be that way myself. My SLR life began with a Minolta and a Rokkor 50mm f/1.4 and I miss it.
04-16-2010, 05:07 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by kyteflyer Quote
I can see why you'd do that, and I had not considered going as low as 10, must look into that a bit more...
I think it warrents a look,
QuoteQuote:
Nope, I really want the 1:1
no problem, just want to make sure of your shooting needs dedicated macros are good, but a 1:1 without extension tubes can get pricy, most are newer IF lenses. I use an old SMC-M 100F4 and extension tubes myself, small compact and MF is not a bif deal, usually you wind up doing MF any way
QuoteQuote:
I'm inclined to be that way myself. My SLR life began with a Minolta and a Rokkor 50mm f/1.4 and I miss it.
Its a lot of fun. WHat I have done is gone one way with 4 zooms to cover 10-200mm, and I use this i various combinations for travel, but for all the special events, I take my K mounts and M42 primes, and have a lot of fun with them. they are faster smaller, lighter than my zooms at any FL

besides, in the dark AF doesn't work any way.
04-18-2010, 08:01 PM   #15
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I think I've decided to start with the DA 35mm macro. Its going to be okay for me to start with because I'm thinking I want to just wander about with a single lightweight lens for most purposes. Besides, I need to just get out there and do it. I need to learn to use the lens in the way that I learned to use the Rokkor 50. I've become lazy and complacent with zooms. Can't wait. Payday this week, order from B&H on Friday
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