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07-27-2009, 03:43 AM   #1
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Hello from rainy London

Completely new to the world of forums (fora?) at 76 years of age, so bear with me as I get started! I last seriously used a camera 50 years ago - a Pentax but cannot remember details. Enormous but complicated fun with dark rooms and smelly substances, but the digital world has lured me back. I am frankly amazed at the instant gratification using my K20D and after three weeks have become snap happy. However I want to get acquainted with this new world, and I know I will now begin to spend all my inadequate disposable income on some of the wonderful range of Pentax lenses. I discovered this forum by googling "If I had to choose one Pentax lens what should it be?" I am none the wiser, but as a lover of complexity, I feel a sense of happiness at the array of choices awaiting me.

07-27-2009, 05:27 AM   #2
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Welcome welcome fellow Pentaxian! I'm a former darkroom junkie myself and love love love the smell of the chemicals. If you have any of those lenses from 50 years ago (they would have been m42 mount I'm assuming) they should work on your K20 with an adaptor. There's a large cadre of Takumar and various other m42 brand fans on this forum, myself included.

So I'm heading to your fair city end of August. Should I expect rainy London weather then as well or is it typically nice that time of year?
07-27-2009, 11:00 AM   #3
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Lovely to hear from you in Virginia. I lived for a spell in the U.S. Actually Detroit but don't tell anyone! Alas, after multiple moves and reincarnations have long lost all my camera gear. London weather is totally unpredictable, and you should plan for hot sunny days, heavy showers, and anything in between. Hope you have a lovely time in one of my favourite cities - a close second to Paris and just before NY. I am off to Paris for a long weekend at the end of September going by Eurostar. If you haven't yet tried this, I implore you to do so - if you are pushed for time just going there for lunch is a great experience. (Hope I'm not teaching my grandmother to suck eggs!
07-27-2009, 04:45 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum, happy to have you here and good luck in your future photography. May the great shots be with you!

07-27-2009, 05:09 PM   #5
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so what lens did your google query tell you of?
07-27-2009, 05:57 PM   #6
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I remember dark rooms but I'm too young to have any memory of ever taking a shot using film. How about that. I must've, mucking around with people's cameras, but I can't remember any times.

Anyway, apart from the lenses some digital editing software might be a good investment. There's free ones like Picasa or Gimp, or better, costly and much more advanced ones like photoshop or lightroom. If you want to get the most out of digital by shooting RAW, good software is a must.

In the lenses department there are a few choices (you might know most of this):
- Huge range of older manual lenses
- Pentax's great range of old and new primes
- If you want simplicity and range, there's the super-zooms at say 18-200mm or 18-250mm. This range is at the expense of image quality and maximum aperture.
- The slower zoom range such as Pentax kits lenses, or Sigma or Pentax 17-70mm f/4, or wide angles like Sigma 10-20 or Pentax 12-24.
- The higher-quality zoom range. These are often continuous f/2.8 and have smaller ranges, but very good image quality.

One thing to remember is that 'cropped' sensor of the K20D (and K7, K10D etc etc) means that the angle of view for any given focal length smaller. The result is that on the K20 a lens is 1.5x the focal length what it was on a 35mm camera. So effectively, 30mm becomes 45mm etc.

Last edited by CWyatt; 07-28-2009 at 12:10 AM.
07-27-2009, 09:35 PM   #7
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Welcome sir, nice to have some youngsters joining up.


I sent you a PM by the way.
07-28-2009, 12:04 AM   #8
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Welcome indeed, mate. You'll find there's quite a few of us old farts on this forum, giving and receiving the Pentax rede. Like you, I don't have a great deal to spend on camera gear, so every purchase has to count. One of the beauties of owning a Pentax, as you've discovered, is that there are legions of high-quality old lenses out there that will work brilliantly on your digital camera. Some will maintain their automatic functions, others never had them in the first place. Happily, you can try them out and get instant feedback on your screen, which will help you make your decisions. So off to Petticoat Lane with you, sir, and see if the wide boys have got a bargain for you! (Actually, from memory, the Lane would be the last place I'd go, but secondhand markets, country fairs and pawn shops await your eager rummaging).

My dad was a cockney - born within the sound of Bow Bells - and I grew up in Middlesex and knew London well. So give my love to the old smoke and welcome again to your new photo family.

07-28-2009, 01:39 AM   #9
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Confused already and not sure if my previous response went through. Just in case, I will repeat that the thread I followed after googling my question about choosing a prime lens for my K20D quickly revealed that everyone has his or her favourite across the whole spectrum of Pentax primes. So I have decided to buy some manual Pentax lenses on EBay in order to test the water.
07-28-2009, 02:22 AM   #10
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Welcome and well done on delving into the digital world!
You'll enjoy the ol' manual lenses - would be just like the film days, only without the dark room smells and carcinogens!
07-28-2009, 08:58 AM   #11
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I nfeel at home already

Quite overwhelmed by welcoming messages. I have already learnt a lot. Wish I used Old Fart as user name after reading Wombat's message. Following Mel's advice I will invest in a M42 adaptor. Am amazed at the great value for money the manual lenses are. I have acquired or am awaiting M 28mm 2.8, M 50mm 1.7 and M 135mm 3.5. Two of these have arrived (in mint condition) and they are like like little jewels to my eyes. Now I will get a super-zoom as suggested by CWyatt. Thanks a lot everyone. (Am impressed by the international nature of the forum)
07-28-2009, 10:50 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by VOldMan Quote
Quite overwhelmed by welcoming messages. I have already learnt a lot. Wish I used Old Fart as user name after reading Wombat's message. Following Mel's advice I will invest in a M42 adaptor. Am amazed at the great value for money the manual lenses are. I have acquired or am awaiting M 28mm 2.8, M 50mm 1.7 and M 135mm 3.5. Two of these have arrived (in mint condition) and they are like like little jewels to my eyes. Now I will get a super-zoom as suggested by CWyatt. Thanks a lot everyone. (Am impressed by the international nature of the forum)
I have the 135mm 3.5 and like it a lot more than I ever thought. I have a 50mm 1.4 that gives me good shots in a dark hallway...I'm amazed at the picture quality of the manual prime lenses.
07-28-2009, 01:57 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by VOldMan Quote
Quite overwhelmed by welcoming messages. I have already learnt a lot. Wish I used Old Fart as user name after reading Wombat's message. Following Mel's advice I will invest in a M42 adaptor. Am amazed at the great value for money the manual lenses are. I have acquired or am awaiting M 28mm 2.8, M 50mm 1.7 and M 135mm 3.5. Two of these have arrived (in mint condition) and they are like like little jewels to my eyes. Now I will get a super-zoom as suggested by CWyatt. Thanks a lot everyone. (Am impressed by the international nature of the forum)
You won't need the M42 adapter for the 3 lenses you mention. The M series Pentax will mount to the K20d on their own. You will just have to meter manually. The A series Pentax, while manual focus, will sync up with the K20's metering system just fine.

Oh, and welcome to the forum.
07-28-2009, 05:26 PM   #14
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That's a nice set to start off with (as the actress said to the bishop). I have a couple of M series lenses and really like them for their light weight, smooth action and crisp focus. And they're dirt cheap. Check out the M Club - I think it's in the Pentax lenses forum.
Bear in mind, as CWyatt mentioned, that the focal lengths of pre-digital lenses will be different on a digital camera. Effectively you'll wind up with 42mm, 75mm and 202mm. That's a very useful spread. Personally, I wouldn't be rushing to buy a big zoom. You've got plenty to learn with already and your kit lens covers a bit of the wider end, so you're all set to dazzle us with some fine shots of rainy old Lunnun. Enjoy it all, mate.
07-29-2009, 01:15 PM   #15
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The Long Haul

Before I lapse into respectful silence, I would like to sum up the situation I find myself in. Am no spring chicken; my primary interest hitherto was computer programming but failing eyesight put a stop to it. I searched around for something suitably complex and rewarding to occupy myself with, and lighted upon the idea of retuning to photography after a lapser of 50 years. I fiddled around with borrowed point and shoot compacts then, after a great deal of research, bought the K20D with the 18-55 kit lens and an Epson Photo 1400 printer. I put together a powerful PC system and installed trial versions of Adobe CS4, Adobe Elements and various other bits and bobs. All that remained was to find out how to use all this kit! The K20D proved to be adept at point and shoot stuff, and then I decided to get down to serious business. My aim in photography is quite unsophisticated: I want to produce large prints with a WOW factor, so when I slip this earthly coil, or kick the bucket as Wombat might say, I leave something to posterity apart from all my credit card debts. I discovered the forum after googling for advice on choosing a prime lens. As a result of the advice I got, I decided to buy a few manual lenses to test the water. In any case, I can't afford to buy a modern lens until next year. I don't think I'm ga-ga, but using the M lenses I now realize I face a learning curve that will take a good few months to surmount. I wanted complexity, and by golly, I've got it! There are terrific threads on using these lenses and I will hack my way through these until I am able to produce passable shots. To sum up,it's a great feeling to be a member of this richly populated forum.
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