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09-03-2011, 08:14 AM   #1
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Hello from an utter novice.

I recently picked up a K-r, after much debate (and argument, along with seething hatred and loathing from the Canikon crowd) and have been coming to terms with my first DSLR.

I used my father's film SLR a little many years ago, and have had several P&S digitals in more recent times, but decided it was time to bite the bullet and upgrade to something that is a bit more flexible and expandable as I learn. While researching, I found the Canikon crowd to be rather unpleasant, and have found much of the photography community online to be incredibly elitist and very rude, for that matter. "Pentaxians" seem a bit more laid back, which led to investigating Pentax options whereupon I found the K-r. I did a lot of price comparisons to the lower end Canon and Nikon options and found the Pentax offered better value, and the K-r specifically had some features I thought I would find useful (and have done) such as the AA battery adapter; when the kit battery runs out, I can just take the AAs out of my flash and throw them in (though I have since ordered more eneloops). The larger screen and faster autofocus are also very nice. And the body is more comfortable in my hands than I found the Canon 1100D and Nikon D3100.

The K-r with the kit 18-55 and a Tamron 90 have proven wonderful so far, so I'm very happy with it and while I'm still learning the camera and getting used to general photographic terminology (with the occasional help of a wonderful tutor/local photographer) I have wanted to participate in an active community to hopefully pick up some useful knowledge, insight and information (along with future lens purchase advice) so after lurking here for some time I finally decided to sign up. Though trying to participate in the market apparently broke some rules that I wasn't aware of as it works very differently to any other marketplace forum I've seen before. But that's neither here nor there.

Hopefully I find what I'm looking for here and don't get put off by the snobbery and elitism that seems to plague the larger photographic community.

09-03-2011, 09:09 AM   #2
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Welcome! And get ready for an onslaught of terms and acronyms: DOF, AOV/FOV, Tak, CZJ, YMMV, etc. And extended disputes over whether 1% differences are important. All very polite, of course. No barbarians here. Well, not too many, anyway. Welcome! You are doomed!
09-03-2011, 09:42 AM   #3
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I know DOF and FOV, they're not new to me at all, YMMV = your mileage may vary? If so that's a fairly old internet acronym, but I'm not sure what Tak and CZJ mean.

Fairly used to seeing people argue over minute differences, though photographers seem to take things quite a bit more seriously than most people, and certainly get worked up over generally insignificant details.

I state it from the outset; I'm a hobbyist. I take photographs for fun. I have no interest in displaying my pictures, getting critique or generally subjecting myself to the snobbery I've witnessed far and wide. I take pictures of things I like, for myself, and as long as I have fun doing it, that's all that matters to me. I'm not sure why so many people get so bent out of shape over how other people want to shoot, their habits or their pre and post processing methods. Unless you're being paid for your work, shouldn't you just have fun with it, and take a break when it stops being fun, instead of getting mad and having a tantrum? I don't get it, but many seem to be high strung, I guess.
09-03-2011, 10:44 AM   #4
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Hi Kona,

I was an utter novice just a few months ago. And in many ways, I still am! But I have enjoyed my K-r immensely and I'm sure you will love yours, too. Sounds like you've gotten off to a great start.

No snobbery here (well, not much!)! This is a very helpful community and I'm so glad I found it! Welcome and enjoy your stay!

09-03-2011, 11:36 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kona Quote
I know DOF and FOV, they're not new to me at all, YMMV = your mileage may vary? If so that's a fairly old internet acronym, but I'm not sure what Tak and CZJ mean.
Tak is Takumar, the name for (mostly) screwmount Asahi Pentax lenses from the days when Asahi and Leitz were neck-and-neck as the world's best lensmakers. ST is Super-Takumar; S-M-C is Super-Multi-Coated (SMC came later). MacTak is Macro-Takumar, etc. We love our Taks! Yes, you can Taks me all you want.

CZJ is Carl Zeiss - Jena, which was the E.German portion of Zeiss after WWII. [See the history of Zeiss for details.] Canikonympus is guess who?

QuoteQuote:
I state it from the outset; I'm a hobbyist. I take photographs for fun. I have no interest in displaying my pictures, getting critique or generally subjecting myself to the snobbery I've witnessed far and wide.
I don't post pix either, for reasons of my own. If I did, I know that the critiques would be gentle and helpful. This isn't /p/, whew! [/p/ is the photo forum on 4Chan, home of LOLcatz and Anonymous and gratuitous viciousness.]

Last edited by RioRico; 09-03-2011 at 03:20 PM.
09-03-2011, 02:36 PM   #6
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We were all novices at one time. Then I traded film for digital and became one all over again. So welcome to the herd from another novice.
09-03-2011, 10:18 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Tak is Takumar, the name for (mostly) screwmount Asahi Pentax lenses from the days when Asahi and Leitz were neck-and-neck as the world's best lensmakers. ST is Super-Takumar; S-M-C is Super-Multi-Coated (SMC came later). MacTak is Macro-Takumar, etc. We love our Taks! Yes, you can Taks me all you want.

CZJ is Carl Zeiss - Jena, which was the E.German portion of Zeiss after WWII. [See the history of Zeiss for details.] Canikonympus is guess who?
Ah, so basically a bunch of MF lenses I will never touch, gotcha. I've seen plenty of M42 lenses available for relatively low prices, but I simply don't want to deal with MF. I got the K-r for its AF performance, and I'm very happy with it. Even my bad AF pictures are better than my best MF ones, no matter how I play with my diopter, if it looks in focus through the viewfinder, the picture always ends up out of focus if I use MF, where as AF is always spot on to the point I set it at (manual select of the eleven points). Which works out fine for me since AF is a lot quicker and easier anyway.
09-03-2011, 10:59 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kona Quote
Ah, so basically a bunch of MF lenses I will never touch, gotcha.
You don't like MFL's? Excellent! That leaves more for the rest of us! And I don't have to bother writing about how even my delaminating eyeballs do well with Catch-In-Focus (CIF), the poor hominid's AF. Or about zone focusing, hyperfocus, guesstimation, other tricks I learned back before there was AF. Whew, what a relief! Yeah, and I needn't mention that my AFL's cost an average of US$255 each while the MFL's average US$20 each. Hay, it's only money!

More seriously: They're different tools for different jobs. AF zooms are indispensable in dynamic situations. Fast AF primes are great for low-light and/or action. MF primes are mostly for slower shooting, for making pictures rather than taking pictures -- although I can shoot some pretty fast-moving stuff with MF primes and CIF. We use whatever suits us, what we're comfortable with... what we can afford. I'm a cheap bastard, so I have a pile of cheap old MFL's and a few AFL's. Whatever works, eh?


Last edited by RioRico; 09-03-2011 at 11:05 PM.
09-03-2011, 11:29 PM   #9
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Of course, budget constraints always apply... but if I can't get any in focus pictures with MF, then having any MF lenses is a waste of money, so I'd rather get some nice AF ones. If I get any. I'm still weighing up what lenses I should expand to once I'm more comfortable with my camera. Debating between a wide angle for landscapes, and a telephoto for wildlife. I don't want some massive collection of lenses, as I'm not terribly comfortable changing them, and storage of them is always a concern too. I have two, and I feel an eventual need for two more, but nothing beyond that... at the moment. Maybe if I get glasses and my diopter working properly I'll be able to MF, but as is, it's auto only for me.
09-04-2011, 12:41 AM   #10
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You haven't read this one before, so I get to tell it again! I've been shooting for a long long time but I got my first dSLR just over 3 years ago, the K20D. Before moving on from an advanced P&S, I asked myself, "What do I want to do that I can't do with what I have?" The answers led me to the DA10-17 fisheye, DA18-250 superzoom, and FA50/1.4 Fast Fifty, all AF. Since then, I've become a lens trader on eBay, and now have about 220 lenses, about 10 of which are AF, mostly used. Here is what I consider a good basic AF kit -- and I do carry and use these a great deal:

* DA10-17, the fisheye zoom that led me to Pentax in the first place. Great for exploiting angles.
* Tamron 10-24, an ultrawide that saves my butt in tight spaces. I shoot 'scapes at the long end.
* DA18-55, the kit.lens I bought later (CHEAP!) -- I use it mostly for hanging filters and adapters.
* DA18-250, my basic lens -- all the others are specialty tools. With this zoom, I don't miss shots.
* F35-70, the smallest Pentax zoom. Sharp and agile, it's ideal for people & limited 'scapes & stuff.
* FA50/1.4, my GOTTA-GET-THE-SHOT lens. Besides dimness and action, it's great for portraits.
* FA100-300, fine optics in a cheezy package. I'm no birder but my best bird shots came from this.

Of these, the Tamron 10-24 and the FA50 and most DA's were new and not cheap (although I got the Tamron on discount); the others were used AND cheap, the F35-70 only US$11 shipped, the FA100-300 about US$100. I could skip the DA18-55; and your Tamron 90 would be nice to have, as my only 90 macro is MF. My set gives me good coverage and good character also.

About wide-angles and 'scapes: If you study published collections of 'scapes, you'll find that the vast majority are shot with the equivalent of the 18-55 kit.lens. Yes, wider lenses are good too. But I find that I mostly use the 10-24 UWA in tight spaces, and the 10-17 FE in tight rounded spaces. Wide lenses shrink the horizon, turning mountains into molehills, skylines into scratches; they're good for emphasizing the near and dismissing the distant. Also, 'scapes usually don't move (except in seismic areas) and so are good for MFL's stopped-down for thick DOF -- I like 21-24-28-35mm MFL's that cost a pittance. Stop down, hyperfocus, and everything's sharp!

If I could afford the Limiteds, I might recommend those. Alas... Anyway, those are some lens ideas. Have fun!
09-04-2011, 01:07 AM   #11
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I'm somewhat reluctant to overlap ranges; why have a 10-17 and a 10-24? I've also considered an 18-250 for a general purpose "cover-most-everything" lens so I wouldn't have to change when shooting outside, which would make pretty much any other lens pointless except for my macro prime for specific shooting (which is always inside with a controlled environment). Though from what I read it's not great at either end, so I'm unsure.

The Sigma 10-20 and various 70-200 (or 300) lenses have been the focus of my investigations so far. The 10-20 for wide landscapes and such, my 18-55 for general purpose "walkaround" and a 70-200(+) telephoto for wildlife. But then I'm not pedantic and always resize/crop pictures anyway, so perhaps an 18-250 would be perfectly fine for me. I still need to do a lot of research in to the matter before I invest anything in to more lenses. But that's why I read reviews here, and signed up to seek more opinions, while also hopefully gleaning bits and pieces of information to help me shoot better, too.
09-04-2011, 02:47 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kona Quote
I'm somewhat reluctant to overlap ranges; why have a 10-17 and a 10-24?
Because they're totally different!

The DA10-17 is a FE-fisheye zoom, going from an extremely fishy ~180-degree view at 10mm, to a slightly fishy ~100-degree view at 17mm. The Tamron 10-24, like the Sigma 10-20's and the DA12-24, is a rectilinear UWA-ultrawideangle -- the widest view starts around the same place as the 10-17's narrowest. Both FEs and UWAs (and even WAs) distort at the edges. FEs curve/bend lines at the edges; WAs and UWAs stretch them. It's the old map-maker's problem of projecting a 3D reality onto a 2D plane. The FE projection is more accurate, but our minds prefer rectilinear.

A DA12-24 or Tammy 10-24 or Sigma 10-20 (either version) (and I don't know about the 8-16) is Very Good To Have. I chose the 10-24 -- its range beats the DA and Sigmas for versatility. 24mm is good for 'scapes and 10mm is good for grabbing as much view as possible without bending edges. Really, you'll find that 15-24mm is about the widest most 'scapes can stand.

The DA10-17 fisheye is very much a specialty lens, for grabbing vast areas of vision, and for exploiting and deranging angles. I can't use it much in my conifer forest -- all the trees, they're falling on me! But in round spaces, or outside where the horizon has no verticals, or at the vertices of lines, a FE can do wonderful work. This DA is legendary, sharp, crisp. I don't leave home without it.

Last edited by RioRico; 09-04-2011 at 02:57 AM.
09-04-2011, 03:07 AM   #13
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Hmm I see. Maybe I should just get a Sigma 17-70 and then some 70-200+, if much below 15 isn't great for landscapes, 17 should be fine. I'm told the 17-70 is a good lens, and it will happily replace my 18-55.

This is a big part of why I was reluctant to step up to SLRs, actually having lens choices gives me a lot to think about.
09-04-2011, 09:58 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kona Quote
This is a big part of why I was reluctant to step up to SLRs, actually having lens choices gives me a lot to think about.
Yeah, ain't choice terrible? All that info to process, all those decisions.

Buying new lenses from sellers with liberal return policies makes a big difference -- buy and try a lens, keep it if it suits, return it if it doesn't suit, and consider the return shipping cost as a rental fee. But I still end up doing a lot of data analysis, with charts and spreadsheets, before making a major purchase.

What lenses to try? One trick is to shoot with wide-range (but not especially fast) zooms, and note which focal lengths you use the most. (There are free software tools for this.) Then look for faster|better lenses at those focal lengths. Another trick is to note the viewing angles of various lenses. Look at a scene|'scape you want to shoot, use a protractor to determine the viewing angle, and that tells you how wide or narrow a lens would work. And the other trick is just to buy+try+return until you get what works for you.

And of course, ask for advice. There's LOTS of free advice here, gladly given for all inquiries. We each have our predilections and preferences. We swear by (or at!) certain lenses, in which we may have emotional as well as financial investments. Enough such suggestions may trend towards statistical significance. Reading the lens review database here shows a rough consensus on many items: their quality and utility and value and quirks. All that data to analyze...
09-04-2011, 12:28 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Yeah, ain't choice terrible? All that info to process, all those decisions.
Yeah, exactly. I'm indecisive at the best of times, but without really knowing what I want/need it's very difficult to choose my next lens. Which is why I'm strongly considering a wide range zoom; the DAL 55-300 is a god bit of kit for the pittance of a price, for example. Though many shun it for being a kit lens. I can't actually find any 18-250s at domestic stores, so I would have to go overseas, so they'll end up costing a good bit more.

From what little I've used my 18-55, I know I tend to use it at either end and not much in the middle, though. And found 55 quite limited. But when somewhere like the beach with wind and sand I would be reluctant to change lenses out in the field, so I feel an 18-250 would be a good choice to give me a wide range to find a sweet spot for what I want to capture, as opposed to having a WA prime and a longer fixed zoom.

So much to consider is such a bother.
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