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12-06-2023, 11:14 AM - 1 Like   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by greyscale Quote
Iím one of those people who have been brought in to Pentax by the K3iii Monochrome. Along with that comes the chance to reboot and choose a coherent set of lenses that matches what I do now. How often do we get to have a fresh start with all of the benefits of experience? And thanks to my lengthy Ė and ongoing Ė preorder wait, I've had time to think this through. A lot of time. Maybe too much time. Definitely too much time.

My photography subjects are fairly basic. No birds, bugs, sports, portraits, or anything else that requires a lot of specialized gear. (And if I do, I probably have some legacy equipment that can handle it.) Mostly itís Photography By Wandering Around, often at night in a small town, so I keep to a simple kit in a smaller satchel bag.

I also want to recognize that thereís no ďbestĒ, only most suitable, and thatís a personal decision for each photographer. It's not just that my lens set might not suit other people, I actually suspect that most people will think I'm daft for choosing it. And that's okay.

Hereís what Iíve ordered and why:

Lens 1: DA 35/2.8 Macro.

This was an instant purchase. Iíve heard great things about it, love the idea behind the Limited lenses, and I really like shorter macros. Theyíre indispensable within every system Iíve built. I donít actually do much 1:1 photography, but often need close focus with my walk-around lenses, and want something for tabletop still-life photography as well.

The DA 35/2.8 is a bit longer than my favourite focal lengths for general use, which would be in the 18-26 (28-40mm-e) zone, but Iíve wanted to own this lens for a decade. Itís not quite perfect enough for me to be my only lens, but itís close.

Lens 2: DA 20-40mm Limited Zoom.

I prefer primes but definitely want a weather-sealed zoom for the times when conditions wonít let me swap lenses. But Iím not a big zoom person, and the 16-50/2.8 is a big zoom. And f/dark lenses make me sad, so those are also out, no matter how small and good they may be. Fortunately the 20-40 matches my needs exactly; it helps that itís awesome and I want lenses with character. I also want lenses that I enjoy as objects for their own sake, and that are satisfying to use.

I still remember when the limited zoom was announced, and the first time I was able to handle one in the store. (There wasnít a body on display, so Iíve never actually used it.) Finally owning one makes me very happy even though it will be my least-used lens. And thatís okay. My theory is that an outlier lens expands what the whole system can be used for. If having the 20-40 in the bag means getting to use the Monochrome instead of something else, then itís earned its place even if it doesn't get used that day.

Lens 3: Ö?

This was my conundrum. I donít know that Iíd actually ĒneedĒ anything else, but having just these two isnít quite satisfying in that particular je ne sais quoi way. The limited zoom makes the 21mm and 40mm DAís seem redundant, but thereís also the 15 and/or 70 Limiteds. The 15 is tempting; I like wide primes, and a lens thatís a bit wider than I normally use could balance the 35 thatís a bit too long. But the 70mm is also tempting; I donít use many longer lenses, but part of that is because theyíre heavy and conspicuous, while this one is uniquely neither. Maybe that would unlock some things for me.

So the sensible choice would be to get both.

But I donít want four lenses. Three are easy to carry: one on the camera, and the other two with the tail caps taped together so that they donít jostle in the bag. Adding a fourth lens makes the mental and practical logistics more difficult; choosing to leave one at home just makes the dissatisfaction of this decision-making exercise permanent. So I went around and around, choosing one, the other, or both. And none of those decisions felt final, so Iíd start over. Iíd consider others as well (fisheye, 11-18, 50, 77, 55-300) but none of them were quite right, either.

Eventually I recognized the core of the problem: I was thinning out my resources for general use in a wide variety of situations. Thatís not what Iím supposed to be doing this time around. I want the Monochrome for its poetry, not practicality. So I did a reset, spent a lot of time going through my favourite photos, considering what worked for me and what didnít, and thinking about how I hope to use the camera now and years from now. Only then did I check to see if any lens matched that ideal.

Lens 3: D-FA 21/2.4 Limited.

It turns out my dream lens does exist, and I recognized it once I knew what it would look like. I hadnít even considered the D-FA before; itís expensive and seems excessive on a 1.5x sensor. But whatís money for if not to buy such beauty and love? And by comparing the numbers for its size on the K3.3 to some equipment that I already own I know it will be satisfying but not strenuous to use. On the Monochrome itís right in my best focal length window, and its near-far design is exactly made for how I want to use it. This lens is going to live on the camera, but it wonít devalue the macro or the zoom, still giving them opportunities to shine. Thatís a fine needle to thread.


So thatís my complete Monochrome kit: the camera and a prime lens nestled inside each end of the 20-40mm zoom. I hope to be using this set without changes for many, many years. The only downside I'm seeing is that each takes a different filter size, but I can work around that. It's a small concession for having a coherent group of lenses that suits me well, each with its own strengths and character. If thereís anything I canít do with this camera and these three lenses then Iím not sure that itís worth me doing it. I want my Monochrome to be about exploring the possibilities found within limitations, because that's where they're the most powerful.

Now all I need is for it to actually arrive.

Nicely written thinking process of your lens choices! I really liked your way to justify each and every one of the lenses. I think this will be great kit for city walks.

12-06-2023, 02:19 PM - 1 Like   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by greyscale Quote
DFA 21 Limited, f/5.6, 1/2 second handheld, iso400.

DFA21:
Iíll flip it and start with my one complaint about this lens: I expected the green dot to be the mounting index rather than just decoration. Itís pretty, yes, but the raised blue dot on my Zeiss ZM lenses lets me mount the lenses without looking. I wanted that for this, too.

Everything elseÖ excellent. Its thingness is perfect. I wouldnít want it to be any bigger, but I donít need it to be any smaller, either. An excellent size for a solid two-hand hold. The built-in hood is so satisfying. Yes, itís too bad that I canít use my square filters, but Iíd rarely do that. Lifeís a barter. Even the modern Zeiss hoods that are tightly integrated into the bodies design arenít this good.

And then thereís the optics. Close focusing distance, rendering at depth, the way it rejoices in lens flare Ė so good. And the focal length is absolutely natural for me, so itís immediately transparent to use. Iím going to need more time and practice with it, but I already suspect that itís among the very best lenses Iíve ever used. I want a ďsignatureĒ lens for my Monochrome, and yup, this is it.

* saying Iíll use ďonly one lensĒ needs a disclaimer, because nothing is going to make me put away my GR3x, and Iíll be treating this plan as ďbest of intentionsĒ rather than ďabsolute prohibitionĒ.
I'm so glad you have the HD DFA 21mm with the monochrome, I think they are a great combo too, now happily that silly bump that you think is decoration is actually used to line up with the lens release button to make lens changing easy without looking for the small red dots in the lens mount.
12-06-2023, 04:49 PM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by tlvx Quote
I'd just like to second this. He's a a very good 21mm salesman.
Maybe a bit too good for my pocketbook's sake.
:-/
I'll just satisfy myself with the fact that my 31mm is virtually the same focal length equivalence on my K-1... though the 21mm could be even more fun...
12-11-2023, 01:02 PM - 1 Like   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeWilli Quote
Pentax-D FA 28-105mmÖ I realize it is a FA series so if I ever get the K1 or they launch a K1 monochrome I'll be all set.
I think this very quietly to myself about the DFA21, and now my fourth Ďbonus lensí, the Sigma 70mm macro. But a K3.3 colour would make more sense for me (control similarity) if I ever wanted a colour SLR (unlikely), and I want to have many more years with ďtheĒ Monochrome before it becomes ďaĒ Monochrome.


QuoteOriginally posted by GeWilli Quote
I'm shooting right now in Av mode almost exclusively, and tweaking the ISO according to needs. Give me another 6 months and I might have all the User settings customized but this is working for me right now.
Iím routinely in Av mode for all of my other cameras, but with the Monochrome Iím using the Advanced Hyper P mode. (Page 52 in the manual.) Most of the time I still treat this as Av mode, but can also use it as Tv or Manual with auto-iso and exposure compensation available. So good. Pressing the nominally Green button resets Av/Tv to P mode default, and Iíve set it so that pressing the Ev button zeros that out, too. When Iím using the camera in simple situations it works like my others, but handles complex changes Ė and back again Ė better than anything else Iíve ever used.



QuoteOriginally posted by garywakeling Quote
I'm so glad you have the HD DFA 21mm with the monochrome, I think they are a great combo tooÖ
Iím just back from a week away, and I only reluctantly brought the 20-40 zoom instead of the DFA21. Mostly the zoom came along for its smaller size and greater expendability Ė if something happened to it I wouldnít feel that I needed to replace it. (Happily, everythingís fine.) But of the photos I recorded, 40% were in the 20-23mm range Ė more than I used the lens from 30-40mm combined. Iím glad that I have the zoom as well, but the DFA21 is my ideal lens.

This thread has gone a long time without a photo, but instead Iíll just link to this one in the Monochrome photos thread. What I didnít say there is that thereís house just visibile through the fog on the right-hand side of the photo; you can see its roof, top deck and collapsed patio umbrella above the horizon. Thatís home when Iím visiting my people in California. It was with the 20-40 at 20mm, and simultaneously demonstrates why the DFA21 would excel in that landscape, and why a bit of zoom can be useful to catch different details. Unfortunately the constant wind Ė that't the ocean lower-left Ė and super-fine sand discourages changing lenses.


QuoteOriginally posted by garywakeling Quote
Öactually used to line up with the lens release button to make lens changing easy without looking for the small red dots in the lens mount.
Thank you, that it exceptionally helpful. I was looking for it to be like my Ziess ZM indices, where they line up as tactile dots on both camera and lens. But of course the K3.3 doesnít have one, so the lens mark doesnít make sense on its own. Knowing how it relates to the lens mount topography makes a difference.

12-11-2023, 02:03 PM - 2 Likes   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by greyscale Quote
camera use
Jeeze louise you're doing some fancy button stuff! The first thing I did was to set ISO to the e-dial. The second was to turn off every button that I could turn off because I don't like bumping into things and things happening. I don't think I've ever pressed a RAW/Lock/AFmode button in my life! (I did set the left directional to turn the screen red for night mode but only because it looks cool )

Last edited by tlvx; 01-17-2024 at 07:33 PM.
12-11-2023, 05:57 PM - 2 Likes   #51
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Well I cracked and bought another lens, the 70mm. It's very nice

I now have the following six for my K3iii monochrome:
SMC DA 15mm f/4
HD DA 21mm f/3.2
HD DA 35mm f/2.8 macro
SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4
HD DA 70mm f/2.4
HD DFA 100mm f/2.8 AW macro

trying to resist the 40mm pancake...
12-11-2023, 07:39 PM - 3 Likes   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by tlvx Quote
Jeeze louise you're doing some fancy button stuff! The first thing I did was to set ISO to the e-dial. The second was to turn off every button that I could turn off because I don't like bumping into things and things happening.
That makes sense considering you're in a dark, fast-paced environment with action. I'm doing much the same, in that it's often dark, but with stationary subjects in an unchanging situation.

From memory:

Left arrow, viewfinder light. Right arrow, top LCD light. Has a logical connection to their positions.
Down arrow, red LCD. Up arrow, outdoor view mode, since I usually want to turn its brightness down, which requires pressing the 'up' button. Į\_(ツ)_/Į

Lock button, auto horizon level. SR, drive mode; RAW, bracketing. There's some overlap between those two; with the drive mode setting it takes a couple of buttons to get to bracketing, remembers my last-used order (0, +2), but needs to be set with the viewfinder [correction: rear LCD screen]. The button direct to bracketing needs the control wheels to choose the mode each time, but that can be done through the OVF or top LCD display.

My E-dial is set to either Ev or Iso. Ev is the default in U1, which is my standard mode, but I use it for iso in U2 because that's set for timed long exposures. I really wish the S.Fn button could be reprogrammed, because I never actually want to change the third dial to any other function outside of the respective user mode preset.


Last edited by greyscale; 12-12-2023 at 08:10 AM. Reason: correction/clarification
12-13-2023, 09:39 AM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by greyscale Quote
I think this very quietly to myself about the DFA21, and now my fourth Ďbonus lensí, the Sigma 70mm macro. But a K3.3 colour would make more sense for me (control similarity) if I ever wanted a colour SLR (unlikely), and I want to have many more years with ďtheĒ Monochrome before it becomes ďaĒ Monochrome.
Was casually shooting a Yuletide concert with the K3 Mono (and the 55-300) and really would have liked a Color one for a few shots (with the green and reds), but I'm not sure how satisfied I'd be with the low light performance after shooting with the Mono. But the occasion i want to shoot color is so infrequent and usually satisfied with the phone that it will be a far off distant purchase, well after the lottery list lenses are acquired.

---------- Post added 12-13-23 at 09:44 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by greyscale Quote
Iím routinely in Av mode for all of my other cameras, but with the Monochrome Iím using the Advanced Hyper P mode. (Page 52 in the manual.) Most of the time I still treat this as Av mode, but can also use it as Tv or Manual with auto-iso and exposure compensation available. So good. Pressing the nominally Green button resets Av/Tv to P mode default, and Iíve set it so that pressing the Ev button zeros that out, too. When Iím using the camera in simple situations it works like my others, but handles complex changes Ė and back again Ė better than anything else Iíve ever used.
Will take a look at that. Thank you for the page reference in the manual. When I first got the mono the manual was overwhelming and I just started using it and went there when stumped, now I find going back for the features more functions and it makes sense with the familiarity i've acquired with the system.

Time to start puzzling the packing of the new camera backpack with these lenses and a manual film SLR.
12-13-2023, 09:51 AM - 1 Like   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeWilli Quote
words
I put off the k3iiim for months because I have a longstanding distrust of "FINE" "ART" "PHOTOGRAPHERS" for whom a rusty lock or any other errant piece of cultural-industrial detritus represents photographic-best-case-scenarios, but was finally won over by the fact of its lowlight irreplaceability. I'm now more or less convinced that I can replace every photowidget I own with two bodies and two lenses. FF, APS-C, 28, 90. Every photobase I care about (birbs aside) is completely covered. I've already started eBaying the photosuperfluities, and 2024 is the year almost everything gets PURGED.
12-13-2023, 11:33 AM - 2 Likes   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeWilli Quote
I'm not sure how satisfied I'd be with the low light performance after shooting with the Mono. But the occasion i want to shoot color is so infrequent and usually satisfied with the phone that it will be a far off distant purchase…
For me this is why I carry the GR (in my case, the 3x) as a companion to the Monochrome. And I do really like the little camera. But the SLR controls and viewfinder, coupled with the Monochrome's file quality, make the big camera so much better that I'll make the extra effort of carrying and using it when I can.

I only do colour photos for other people. Family photos, or ones for work. Occasionally I think I might want colour files for trickier monochrome conversions, but honestly, I'd rather stay true to the light and work from a monochrome original. And to match its sharpness and low-light performance the K3iiiC would need to be on a tripod – I have a few great tripods, but these days I rejoice in hand-holding six-figure iso values, so that's hard to give up.

Besides, my bag doesn't have room for two SLRs, so it's a good thing that I already own my perfect camera.


QuoteOriginally posted by tlvx Quote
I'm now more or less convinced that I can replace every photowidget I own with two bodies and two lenses. FF, APS-C, 28, 90. Every photobase I care about (birbs aside) is completely covered.
I can't tell you how much I miss being somewhere where I could find rusty locks and errant detritus… <sigh>

Two cameras and two lenses providing four distinctly different options: very nice. And isn't it amazing that the K3.3M's performance is actually under-hyped? I just finished processing a night photo that was recorded at 26mm, so I glanced at the rest of the exif and assumed the GR3x was doing a good job at iso3200. Nope. It was the Monochrome, and working at iso32,000. NBD.




I have no idea what kind of bird this is, aside from gull-sized and dark, but the photo was with the Sigma 70mm macro lens. And I've seen more than one photographer with the exotic telephoto also carrying a baggie of bird seed.
12-13-2023, 11:59 AM   #56
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QuoteOriginally posted by greyscale Quote
gull-sized and dark
I bought the GH6 because I needed [something] for my hacky/tacky video work, but it seemed like a shame to have an M43 and not a birding lens, (...right?), so I got the 100-400 and have happily put many dozens of thousands of shots through it. Nobody sees them besides me, of course (Does anyone care about other peoples' birds photos? I can't imagine it.) and while I would be perfectly happy to go back to birding with my revolting bargain-bin Takumar 400, I don't feel as if it would be showing proper respect to the two coveys of Gambel's quail whose ongoing turfwar I have spent the past four years documenting. That said, it is something of a frivolous luxury, unlike the K3iiiM, which will be deployed tonight on her maiden SMC 28 3.5 voyage, in capturing all the finer lowlight moments of a "
" grindcore troupe from New Orleans.
12-13-2023, 01:01 PM - 4 Likes   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by greyscale Quote
but honestly, I'd rather stay true to the light and work from a monochrome original. And to match its sharpness and low-light performance the K3iiiC would need to be on a tripod Ė I have a few great tripods, but these days I rejoice in hand-holding six-figure iso values, so that's hard to give up.
These Ewes agree... the color comes from shooting bike races and concerts, and maybe if someone wants to start paying me i'll get a color back but until then I'll just flirt with the idea of a K3.3C
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