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09-04-2011, 01:34 PM   #16
Ash
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Kona,
Welcome to the world of photography.
When I started I also thought it best to have the biggest range zooms available for convenience and limit the number of lens changes.
Now I think it's best to have primes, and only have zooms that are needed for specific purposes such as fast action events.
There are a number of reasons for this, and is a big reason why users go to dSLRs as opposed to bridge/hybrid cameras, but if it's all about convenience you could get yourself the DA 18-135 to replace the kit lens, wait for a 18-250 to be offered on the forum marketplace, or indeed just get yourself a 17-70 lens (Whether Pentax or Sigma) to give you just that little bit more zoom at the long end.

09-04-2011, 01:47 PM   #17
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Unfortunately the 18-135 runs some $800 locally, which is far too much for me as a casual hobbyist. I could get two or three other lenses for that, and would certainly prefer to. I do want a telephoto, but it seems I would probably be best with a 17-70 (Sigma is almost third of the price of the Pentax thanks to SDM) and then a 70-200+.

Primes also seem to run quite a lot, which given their fixed range would end up costing me a fortune to cover what I want (especially given 200 and 300mms are a few grand). Honestly I'd rather settle for "OK" pictures from a 55-300 (or whatever) than missing many shots due to time taken to change lenses or being reluctant to in certain weather. But, I'm still weighing it all up. There's no pressing need for me to get new lenses any time soon, so I continue investigating and decide in the future.
09-04-2011, 02:10 PM   #18
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The DAL55-300 reportedly has good optics, is well-liked -- but not by me, because I shoot a lot between 35-70mm and changing lenses around 55mm is a pain. I have an 18-55 + 60-300 pair I don't use together, just because of that. You won't find a DA18-250 or its Tamron twin in shops because they are out of production, but widely available used. Tamron still makes an 18-200, and Sigma makes an 18-250. I can't vouch for them but they probably don't suck. Yes, I use my 18-250 when lens swapping is inappropriate; that's it's strong point.

My basic minimal kit is the DA50/1.4 for dimness and action; Tamron 10-24 for tight spaces; DA18-250 for everything else; and a Raynox macro adapter for getting close. Others may prefer a Pentax 12-24 or one of the Sigma 10-20's for a UWA. Others may prefer a 17-70 as a walkabout lens, or a DA18-135, and pair such with the DA(L)55-300. All it takes is money, eh?

Before spending money, try your 18-55 at different focal lengths, say between 20-50mm. (It's weakest at its extremes.) Stop it down to f/8 or f/11 for great DOF; or leave it wide-open but center your subjects for best sharpness. A day at a time, treat it like a prime: 25mm today, 35mm tomorrow, forcing yourself to see at that focal length. The kit.lens club here is stuffed with great photos shot with this, probably one of the best kit zooms ever.

And don't believe propaganda that Pentax kit lenses are junk. The 18-55 and 55-300 are NOT trash. Those who bad-mouth them are often 1) newbs who don't know how to use them; or 2) unlucky sods who've had bad copies; or 3) provocateurs trying to promote more expensive glass. I sense a conspiracy: Convince newbs to sell their kit.lenses CHEAP! (I got mine for US$50) and 'upgrade' to something that costs US$500-1500. Very clever...
09-05-2011, 03:22 AM   #19
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Welcome to one of the most rewarding passions! I'm new to Pentax myself, and I'm excited to know that I can produce quality images without feeling like I have to give up a huge chunk of my paycheck. I'm glad to find out that so many of the community here are very satisfied with their systems, and proven through the user galleries/image forums, that these cameras and their respective photographers produce beautiful photos. I look forward to seeing your work.

Cheers,
barm

09-05-2011, 11:56 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Before spending money, try your 18-55 at different focal lengths, say between 20-50mm. (It's weakest at its extremes.) Stop it down to f/8 or f/11 for great DOF; or leave it wide-open but center your subjects for best sharpness. A day at a time, treat it like a prime: 25mm today, 35mm tomorrow, forcing yourself to see at that focal length. The kit.lens club here is stuffed with great photos shot with this, probably one of the best kit zooms ever.
This is a really good tip; I'll be sure to try it, thanks!

QuoteOriginally posted by barm Quote
I look forward to seeing your work.
I doubt I will ever post anything I snap here as I never go anywhere or do anything grand enough to warrant sharing, though we'll see. My photography class is doing an outing some time in the near future, so it may be possible to get some nice landscapes and such of a place I've never been to before. I'll just have to wait and see.

Something I am quite interested in trying, is astrophotography. Though I don't have any idea where to start. It seems like it may require nice primes, and I hear people speak of equatorial mounts (which are far from affordable to the layman). But seeing as I live outside a city these days,I would like to take advantage of the low air and light pollution.
09-05-2011, 12:56 PM   #21
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Kona, I understand you may not want to share your photos. That's just fine. Lots of folks feel that way. I would suggest, though, that viewing others' work online is really helpful for other newbies who are just getting started. I can't tell you how much inspiration I've gotten from viewing photos here and elsewhere. I bet you'll get some great shots that others would love to see.

But it's up to you, of course. I didn't want to share anything at first either but now they can't get me to stop, no matter how hard they try. LOL!
09-05-2011, 01:26 PM   #22
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I agree with loco. Start off learning the basics such as here: Learning basic photographic techniques - PentaxForums.com, Photography tutorials from the pros - PentaxForums.com
Emulation is a great way to start off learning, then experimenting and innovation can follow and take your results to the next level.
09-05-2011, 11:03 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by loco Quote
I can't tell you how much inspiration I've gotten from viewing photos here and elsewhere.
Oh, I agree completely. I follow a few blogs and similar dedicated sites of my hobbies and have seen many wonderful pictures (one of which is what finally prompted me to get an SLR as I had clearly hit the limits of my cheap P&S). It is certainly inspiring to see wonderful photos taken in ways you have never considered, how lighting and angles can make such dramatic differences. You can read about it all year long but without seeing it in practice you'll never fully understand it. So yeah, I do follow some galleries/blogs/etc of the kind of things I want to shoot... except astro (at least reasonable astro without dozens of thousands of dollars of kit). But I'm also interested in learning the basics and general photography.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Emulation is a great way to start off learning, then experimenting and innovation can follow and take your results to the next level.
That's what I hope to do, and why avidly read and follow the blogs/sites of people that do the kind of shooting I'm interested in. Emulation can be difficult without having remotely near the kind of resources others do, though (not just camera gear). But it's something I'm working on all the same.

09-06-2011, 12:30 AM   #24
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If you can ever get the manual focus thing worked out then there is one thing you might want to keep in mind. you can get good manual focus lenses for next to nothing compared to what auto focus lenses cost. you can try out different zoom ranges to see which you like for very little money. It might help out a little with your tough decisions before you go dropping the big bucks on auto focus lenses you might not like.
I'm also guessing that you are not aware of what catch in focus and such is. My eye site is out just past what the diopter adjustment of my camera can fix. It makes manual focusing difficult. With catch in focus, you set the camera, then hold the button down. when the subject comes into focus it will fire. Likewise for non moving objects your camera can be set to tell you when it is in focus. You don't have to rely on your ability to tell if it is in focus. It is just as accurate as your auto focus. While learning to do it yourself is a valuable skill, letting the camera do it with manual focus lenses is a very useful tool for those of us with less than perfect eye site.
09-06-2011, 12:50 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kona Quote
Emulation can be difficult without having remotely near the kind of resources others do, though (not just camera gear). But it's something I'm working on all the same.
Easy emulation: cheat. Look for sites and books showing how shots were shot. And copy, with improvisation. Take a print of an image you admire and try to re-create it. Often the best 'resources' are an off-camera flash, a reflector, and a plain (or fancy) backdrop. Some shots need elaborate studio setups, true. Many don't. An awful lot can be faked.

Then there are some exercises, or let's call them theme-work. Pick a limitation and stick with it for a day or week or whatever. Some examples:

* Shoot only a specific color. This week, nothing but turquoise.
* Shoot only with the camera pointed straight up, or straight down.
* Shoot only numbers, or letters, or symbols, flat or dimensional.
* Shoot only a single bit of anatomy: hands this week, noses next week.
* Shoot with only a single focal length. Learn to see at that FOV.
* Shoot only while lying on your belly, or on your back, or side.
* Shoot only into reflective surfaces: windows, mirrors, pools.

It's easy to be ready for anything. Extreme limitations make us work harder.
09-08-2011, 06:03 PM   #26
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Seeing as I just got a new lens with even more range (50-200WR) from the marketplace here, I shall take some of your advice and apply it. Some isn't practical for me personally, but it's easy to extrapolate where you're coming from so I take note and will try some of these exercises. Cheers.
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