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02-18-2014, 04:48 AM   #1
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MikePlunkett's Avatar

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Where Next?

I've owned a DSLR for nearly 7 years now and about 18 months ago made the switch from Olympus to Pentax, trading in an E-30 for my current K-5. Now I am very happy with my K-5 and would like to develop (no pun intended) and broaden my photography with it. As a result I'm trying to develop a roadmap of what I should be saving for and where I should focus (again, no pun intended!) my attention, but am struggling to get beyond 'buy more lenses!' So, I guess what I'm after is some advice and/or suggestions as to where a competent, intermediate level photographer should be doing/buying to improve his skills further.

Current kits includes:

Pentax K-5
Pentax 18-55mm WR
Pentax 50-200mm WR
Pentax 50mm f1.8
Sigma 150-500mm
Metz 44 AF-1 flashgun
Manfrotto tripod
Manfrotto monpod

02-18-2014, 05:52 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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Seems like you have a pretty good kit. It might be a little weak on the wider end, though. If you do landscape, astrophotography, street photography, indoor photography, you might want a wide angle prime. DA 35mm f2.4 is great for its price, but its not very wide. Some people love the DA 21mm or DA 15mm. There are many threads about wide angle lens choices. But it really depends on what your interests are. If you want to go into portrait photography, think of a lens between 55mm and 100mm. If you want to try product photography, you will need a white background and something like the 100mm macro.
For all around general shooting I think you have a good kit, I would just miss some wide angle primes. (Which is why I got DA 35mm f2.4 and Samyang 14mm)
02-18-2014, 05:58 AM - 3 Likes   #3
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I was always told to get outside your comfort zone.
Meaning if you are mostly shooting street shots or landscapes try shooting portraits or shooting people in general.
And so forth, usually getting out of your comfort zone forces you to grow as an artist or photographer.
Sometimes its as simple as taking only your 50mm with you for a week and forcing you to think about each shot.
These are pointers that have been given to me.

---------- Post added 02-18-14 at 08:08 AM ----------

now I just need to go out and do what I just told you
02-18-2014, 06:26 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Prime Time?

Hello Mike, welcome to the Forum!
Na Horuk is right, you need some primes!
But which ones? For starters, I'd say one in the 15 to 21mm range, a good 28 or 35mm and a short telephoto, 85-135mm. A 100mm macro can also be used as a short tele. For the middle range, many older 28mm or 35mm's (legacy glass) would be fine, and the DA35mm f/2.4 is a great value lens.
Wide angles lower than 24mm are usually hard-to-find in legacy (pre-digital), so the selection is newer and prices, higher.
If you have LR, filter the EXIF data to show most-used focal lengths on your zooms. Say, you've got a bunch of great shots around 20mm, that's how you see and frame certain scenes. We all favor different focal lengths, find out what you like and upgrade!
Some zoom users like 'fast' lenses, wide maximum apertures for low-light, indoor or sports. An f/2.8 zoom of 17-50mm (roughly) might be a good choice, but I prefer primes overall.
You have a good zoom kit, my recommendation is LightRoom (if you don't already have it) and a few sharp primes.

02-18-2014, 06:36 AM - 1 Like   #5
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What do you want to do better, Mike? I'd agree you're a bit weak on wide angle/close range lenses. Is this important?
02-18-2014, 08:16 AM - 1 Like   #6

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QuoteOriginally posted by MikePlunkett Quote
...So, I guess what I'm after is some advice and/or suggestions as to where a competent, intermediate level photographer should be doing/buying to improve his skills further...
I have more questions than answers here because you didn't provide some key information. Do you have an endgame in mind? Are you doing photography as a hobby or hoping to turn it into a full-time career? If wedding photography, try to become a 2nd shooter to an established wedding photographer in order to learn more.

Assume you're a hobbyist, what do you enjoy taking photos of? Practice that more then consider additional gear if your current gear is inhibiting you. Or maybe try a new niche: birds in flight, astrophotography, macro, etc.
02-18-2014, 08:26 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Looking at what you have I would go wider (Sigma 8-16, 10-20, Tamron 10-24) and faster with either the Sigma or Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 or the Pentax 16-50 f/2.8. I would also consider the 18-135 WR and then use that and that alone for hikes in places where you aren't afraid to get it damp or dusty to get those shots most will not get.
02-18-2014, 08:29 AM - 1 Like   #8
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It's all about the lighting

QuoteOriginally posted by MikePlunkett Quote
... am struggling to get beyond 'buy more lenses!' So, I guess what I'm after is some advice and/or suggestions as to where a competent, intermediate level photographer should be doing/buying to improve his skills further.
You can keep chasing lenses, but how about some flash accessories, like a stand, umbrella/softbox, and pop-open reflector.

David Hobby's Strobist 101 is a must-read:
Strobist: Lighting 101

If you browse through, you will see that off-camera flash techniques are applicable in a wide variety of situations, and will breathe new life into your photo hobby. Everything you pick up begins to look like a potential flash reflector, diffuser, or gobo.

02-18-2014, 10:18 AM - 1 Like   #9
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Posts: 304

As mentioned above, I second VoiceOfReason and TER-OR. They both have mentioned lack of ultra wide angle lenses. You need one, to cover landscapes. However if you don't feel the need. You have gathered pretty much everything for the hobbyist/ enthusiast photographer.

I would stick to this kit (That you have for another year and a half).

QuoteOriginally posted by johnwdavisjr Quote
I was always told to get outside your comfort zone.
- I second this.

You don't need anything else.


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