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11-08-2014, 07:26 AM   #1
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Re-kindling my interest

Hello all. A little about me. I've had a lifelong interest in photography, most notably landscape/nature photography. Who here has not been inspired the first time they saw an Ansel Adams collection? My dad had a couple of old Argus rangefinder cameras that dated from the 50's and I experimented around with those as a kid. My first serious camera was a Minolta XG-1 that I bought sometime in the early 80's when I was in the Navy. I think at one time I had the largest collection of "sunset at sea" photos ever taken! The pursuit of photography has not been constant however and has lagged for decades until the last 6 or 7 years or so. I bought a Canon Rebel XTi shortly after I moved to New Jersey in 2007 and liked it a lot. I began taking pictures on hiking walks through the sand barrens of South Jersey and along the Boardwalk in AC. Wanting something with a little more capability and functions that were not as menu driven I later bought a 40D body to add to the XTi and a bunch of lenses. But long story short divorce is painful and expensive and needing to get liquid in a hurry and with a pile of photo gear sitting around something had to give. And so it did.
So fast forward a little bit to summer 2013 and I made a decision to at least invest in some gear again. Knowing that my interest lay in landscape/nature photography I started doing some research in that area and one thing that kept standing out was Pentax reputation for best in class image quality. I also liked the fact that Pentax shake reduction is sensor based rather than lens based. There are advantages/disadvantages to both lens based SR and sensor based but overall I'm more comfortable with sensor based. I found this forum and did some further reading. I then purchased a K50 body and 2 Tamron zooms to get me started: 10-24 f3.5/4.5 and 28-300 f3.5/6.3. My next plan is to acquire a couple of primes but the idea is to purchase the highest quality I can get. The Tamrons will do for now. Now I need to motivate myself to spend the time actually going out and working to develop my craft. Photography is not my only interest as I am also a 3 hdcp golfer and maintaining that takes a lot of time. But I think I am going to take a short golf sabbatical over the winter and devote some time to photography. I live in Lake Arrowhead, CA so I am in close proximity to a lot of good nature/landscape opportunities and need to take advantage of them to further develop my skillset. Anyway I've been lurking the forum for quite a while and find that there are a lot of knowledgeable people here and most importantly that they treat others here, regardless of skill or experience level, with respect. You should see what goes on on some of the golf forums I frequent! I look forward to more interaction here.

11-08-2014, 08:21 AM   #2
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Welcome! You are correct about the tone and helpfulness of PentaxForum. It is one of the reasons I have stayed with Pentax so long. By the way I think there is even a PentaxForum user group which meets regularly in S CA. Check with crewl1. Oh yes, and photography is so much more fun than golf
11-08-2014, 08:25 AM   #3
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First of all, Ansel is my idol. The most amazing black and whites ever. Second, good move to Arrowhead. And third, let's see some pictures!
11-08-2014, 09:11 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mikesul Quote
Welcome! You are correct about the tone and helpfulness of PentaxForum. It is one of the reasons I have stayed with Pentax so long. By the way I think there is even a PentaxForum user group which meets regularly in S CA. Check with crewl1. Oh yes, and photography is so much more fun than golf
Hey, hey, hey. Golf is a lot of fun! If they have anything in common it is that you do not play good golf or take good photos by accident. Both take their own kind of preparation in terms of knowing your equipment and how to use it.

---------- Post added 11-08-14 at 08:13 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Rimfiredude Quote
First of all, Ansel is my idol. The most amazing black and whites ever. Second, good move to Arrowhead. And third, let's see some pictures!
I do have a couple of pics I took several years ago I will probably post and get some constructive criticism on.

11-08-2014, 09:14 AM   #5
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Please do post them. There will be plenty of helpful comments and suggestions.
11-08-2014, 02:35 PM   #6
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Welcome, we are glad to see you!
You need to be sure to take the time to photo, especially if you live in such a wonderful place !!
certainly more then remove and insert their own photos!
11-08-2014, 05:28 PM   #7
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Welcome Bryce.

As a nature photographer, sooner or later you'll be looking for a macro lens. Plenty of cheap options apart from the dedicated macro lenses. But if you are thinking of getting some primes anyway, at least one of them should be a macro. True macro lenses are always very sharp, if slow to autofocus. People variously like the Pentax 35, 50, 100 macro lenses, or the Tamron 90 or Sigma 105. Lots of discussion of this topic in the forums.
11-08-2014, 05:37 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Welcome Bryce.

As a nature photographer, sooner or later you'll be looking for a macro lens. Plenty of cheap options apart from the dedicated macro lenses. But if you are thinking of getting some primes anyway, at least one of them should be a macro. True macro lenses are always very sharp, if slow to autofocus. People variously like the Pentax 35, 50, 100 macro lenses, or the Tamron 90 or Sigma 105. Lots of discussion of this topic in the forums.
Des thanks for the welcome and the info. I would guess that a slower autofocus when shooting in macro in many cases would not be a huge issue since you would be shooting stationary objects. Am I wrong in this? Also do many people go to manual focus in those instances?

11-09-2014, 04:03 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bryce K Quote
I would guess that a slower autofocus when shooting in macro in many cases would not be a huge issue since you would be shooting stationary objects. Am I wrong in this? Also do many people go to manual focus in those instances?
Just so. And that is why highly regarded manual focus macro lenses, like the Pentax-A 50mm f2.8 macro or the A 100mm f2.8, remain popular and hold their value very well.

Macro lenses tend to have long focus throws, and that is why on autofocus versions the autofocus is often slow. That can be an irritation in general (non-macro) use when trying to track moving objects (including children and pets). But the rest of the time it doesn't matter much, and their stellar sharpness makes up for it.

I'd put in a word for my Pentax D FA 100 Macro WR. The image quality is excellent, great colour rendering, 1:1 macro, lovely portrait lens, compact, beautifully built, weather resistant. Just a fine lens.

Others will make a case for a 35mm or 50mm macro. For example, have a look at these superb flower shots taken with a 35mm macro:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/12-post-your-photos/274328-nature-flowers-australian-national-botanic-gardens.html

But for me about 100mm is my preferred focal length for macro, because it gives a reasonable working distance from subjects such as insects. At 35mm, or even 50mm, for me there would not be enough distance from the subject at 1:1 macro. Also, at 50mm I prefer to have a faster lens (e.g. DA 50 f1.8) than the f2.8 of most macros. But, as they say, YMMV.

Last edited by Des; 11-09-2014 at 04:15 AM.
11-09-2014, 04:29 AM   #10
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For higher quality glass, slower f4 is just fine. You can always stitch if the lens is not wide enough. Just overlap shots at 25% then use Microsoft ICE to stitch the resulting image (its free). Here are a few lens suggestions:
  • Sigma 8-16 - Wonderful quality, but has been discontinued somewhat (hard to tell) and difficult to find.
  • Pentax DA 12-24 - Again wonderful quality. Has a bit of CA but can be removed in post processing.
  • Pentax DA* 15 - Excellent lens, great flare control, small size.
  • Pentax DA 21 - Excellent lens, small size.
  • Pentax FA 31 Limited - Legendary in all respects - including price.
  • Pentax DA 35/f2.4 - Excellent and goes for a very good price
  • Pentax DA 16-45 - Excellent lens but discontinued, excellent price used.
There are other lenses, but these come to mind...

11-09-2014, 05:19 AM   #11
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Welcome to the forum, aye is a pretty friendly bunch of folk in here, but please don't hold us responsible for making you spend all your money on camera equipment.
11-09-2014, 05:54 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
For higher quality glass, slower f4 is just fine. You can always stitch if the lens is not wide enough. Just overlap shots at 25% then use Microsoft ICE to stitch the resulting image (its free). Here are a few lens suggestions:
  • Sigma 8-16 - Wonderful quality, but has been discontinued somewhat (hard to tell) and difficult to find.
  • Pentax DA 12-24 - Again wonderful quality. Has a bit of CA but can be removed in post processing.
  • Pentax DA* 15 - Excellent lens, great flare control, small size.
  • Pentax DA 21 - Excellent lens, small size.
  • Pentax FA 31 Limited - Legendary in all respects - including price.
  • Pentax DA 35/f2.4 - Excellent and goes for a very good price
  • Pentax DA 16-45 - Excellent lens but discontinued, excellent price used.
There are other lenses, but these come to mind...

I can second the advice on lenses, especially the Sigma 8-16 but interested_observer is also right on with his advice to consider doing stitched panoramas. Microsoft ICE and Hugin are both free and do an excellent job of creating panoramas.
11-09-2014, 08:12 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
For higher quality glass, slower f4 is just fine. You can always stitch if the lens is not wide enough. Just overlap shots at 25% then use Microsoft ICE to stitch the resulting image (its free). Here are a few lens suggestions:
  • Sigma 8-16 - Wonderful quality, but has been discontinued somewhat (hard to tell) and difficult to find.
  • Pentax DA 12-24 - Again wonderful quality. Has a bit of CA but can be removed in post processing.
  • Pentax DA* 15 - Excellent lens, great flare control, small size.
  • Pentax DA 21 - Excellent lens, small size.
  • Pentax FA 31 Limited - Legendary in all respects - including price.
  • Pentax DA 35/f2.4 - Excellent and goes for a very good price
  • Pentax DA 16-45 - Excellent lens but discontinued, excellent price used.
There are other lenses, but these come to mind...

Great list there.
11-09-2014, 07:44 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr Bassie Quote
Great list there.
Yes, I'm envious!
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