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12-20-2013, 10:28 PM   #1
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Greetings from Seattle, new to photography

Hello all. Greetings and salutations from Seattle, WA. Yes, its rainy and cloudy here most of the time.

I got my DSLR start when I borrowed a friend's D50 for a trip to Nicaragua in 2011. I had just started our nonprofit and wanted to take pictures of some of the children and families we were serving. The photos I brought back elicited "oohs" and "aahs" and told such a powerful story - I was hooked. Once I had the money saved up, I found the K30 to be an excellent fit for my specific needs, and found a good deal that included a DAL 18-55mm kit lens.

I've only had a couple of weeks with the new rig, and I'm climbing the steep learning curve as quickly as I can. Much of my shooting is candid shots of children in varying lighting conditions. The kit lens doesn't get me quite far enough away from my subjects, so I'm looking at alternatives. I'm also trying to learn how to work with photos in post processing. Again, any suggestions are much appreciated.

Open to beginner tips, tricks of the trade, Pentax-specific resources, etc.

Thanks all!

12-20-2013, 11:48 PM   #2
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New Lenses?

Hello jbh425, welcome to the forum!
Glad to hear you're enjoying the new Pentax gear, and it sounds like you are doing some wonderful non-profit work.
Regarding possible upgrades, the first lens that comes to mind for your needs is the DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 AL WR DC. First, it's about twice as 'long' as the kit lens, in other words the telephoto reach extends your 18-55mm to 135mm, so you can shoot from a greater camera-to-subject distance and still have the large image size. Also, it is fully weather resistant, handy both at home and abroad! The f/stop range is exactly the same as your kit lens, so you're not losing any lens 'speed' actually you're gaining some, since it's f/5.6 at 135mm, not 55mm. The price from B + H is right around $500.
The downside is that you're effectively making the kit lens redundant and you won't get much for it on the used lens market, as it isn't W/R.
Other alternatives to the short portrait length range would be the DA 100mm f/2.8 Macro, a great close-up and short tele, available in W/R, but it's more expensive, about $900 IIRC. It would be better for low-light conditions, as it has a wider maximum aperture.
You could also check out the DA Ltd 70mm f/2.4 and Sigma Macro 70mm f/2.8 as alternatives.
Here's a thread listing all the available 3rd party (new) lenses that fit Pentax DSLR's;
For processing, there are several free online programs like FastStone, GIMP and Picasa, all are pretty good but limited in some ways. Overall, the best I've found is LightRoom, about $150, sometimes on sale for $100-$120. You can later add specialty apps for B + W, noise reduction, effects, etc, that plug into LR, expanding the capabilities quite a bit. But the stand-alone LR 5 is (IMO) the best PP program around.
Good luck!
12-21-2013, 09:00 AM   #3
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Lens reco

Thanks for the pointers with the lens recommendation. Let me throw you a curve ball. First, I know the K30 body is WR, but I don't think WR is a pre-requisite for a lens for my shooting conditions. Nicaragua can be dusty or wet, but I'm not typically shooting in those conditions. Next, I've found with my kit lens that *most* of my outdoor shots are taken at the longer end of the range, and going to a 50mm+ lens seems like a solid option. It's very seldom that I'm trying to capture a subject from closer than about 8'. So from there, what say you on lens recos?

Funny that you mention Lightroom. I just d/l the trial yesterday. It's pushing my little old laptop to its limits, and I'm trying to figure out the workflow. But everything I read confirms that it's the way to go.

Thanks for the tips.
12-21-2013, 12:20 PM   #4
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Going To Telephoto?

Well, if you want an additional lens as opposed to a replacement, my recommendation would be the DA 55-300mm f/4.0-5.8. In non=WR it's $350, with WR it's $450, both prices for new stock from B+H Photo.
There's also a DA 50-200mm f/4.0-5.6 WR, $250 from B+H, but several reports I've read here and elsewhere say it's soft at the long end and just not as good overall, as the 55-300mm.
For the (roughly) 70-200mm short tele zoom range, you'll find many other choices from Sigma and Tamron, generally with comparable prices and performance.
Weather resistance is one of those odd things that you really don't need really need it. I would gladly pay more, with any new-lens purchase, for W/R and not think twice. It's not just torrential rains or blizzards, but the occasional rainshower, garden hose, sea and salt spray, dust, pollen, dripping ice cream, sailboat rides, people sneezing nearby, tears of joy, slobbering dogs, food fights, gasses, smoke, airborne pollutants, mist, smog, fog, ice, sleet, sweat.
Protect your camera and lens at least as well as you protect your eyes.

12-21-2013, 12:55 PM   #5
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Welcome, sounds like your on the right lines with your thoughts, keep up with the good images for more of the "elicited "oohs" and "aahs"".

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