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06-18-2010, 07:09 AM   #1
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How do you juggle prime lenses in practical usage

Hi,

I am upgrading from the k100D with 18-55mm kit lens to a K-x. I am also thinking of getting 1 or 2 of those nice pancake lenses to go with the k-x. I have the DA15 Ltd and the DA35 Ltd in mind and if budget permits, perhaps a DA70 as well.

How do you guys actually use these lenses in the field? Do you keep swapping lenses to achieve the field of view you want? Seems like a tedious process to keep changing lenses all the time....no?

And no...I don't want to get another zoom lens in case you wonder..I wanted to focus on pentax primes from now onwards.

Appreciate some insight.

06-18-2010, 07:18 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by ladybug Quote
Hi,

I am upgrading from the k100D with 18-55mm kit lens to a K-x. I am also thinking of getting 1 or 2 of those nice pancake lenses to go with the k-x. I have the DA15 Ltd and the DA35 Ltd in mind and if budget permits, perhaps a DA70 as well.

How do you guys actually use these lenses in the field? Do you keep swapping lenses to achieve the field of view you want? Seems like a tedious process to keep changing lenses all the time....no?

And no...I don't want to get another zoom lens in case you wonder..I wanted to focus on pentax primes from now onwards.

Appreciate some insight.

Well it depends, if i'm casually shooting I might decide up first which prime to use, mount that to camera and work with that using my feet to zoom and trying to work with the lens I selected to get the shots.

If I know that I'm going to need different focal lengths I try to anticipate, so I have the right lens ready when the situation comes. Sometimes that fails, but if you have too wide lens you can crop, and if you have too long lens you can try to be fast and shoot photos and combine in post-processing to achieve desired result.

Hope this helps, I think it very much depends on your shooting style and I'm sure that you'll find your own preferred "system" after some use

-Juho
06-18-2010, 07:19 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by ladybug Quote
Hi,

I am upgrading from the k100D with 18-55mm kit lens to a K-x. I am also thinking of getting 1 or 2 of those nice pancake lenses to go with the k-x. I have the DA15 Ltd and the DA35 Ltd in mind and if budget permits, perhaps a DA70 as well.

How do you guys actually use these lenses in the field? Do you keep swapping lenses to achieve the field of view you want? Seems like a tedious process to keep changing lenses all the time....no?

And no...I don't want to get another zoom lens in case you wonder..I wanted to focus on pentax primes from now onwards.

Appreciate some insight.
I use the old zoom technology. This is how it works: to zoom out, the photographer takes a few steps backwards; to zoom in, the photographer takes a few steps forward.
06-18-2010, 07:27 AM   #4
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Some people do exactly that.

Myself, I only use zoom if a prime lens won't get the job done: i.e. an 80-200mm for sports when the variable range is needed, or a 12-24mm when I'm uncertain whether I'm going wide or ultrawide.

My walkaround lens is the FA 85mm, while I usually use a 200mm for tele shots and a 24 or 35mm for wider shots. In my opinion, it's best to stick to one lens for an entire shoot, as it lets you focus on the composition and look at things in a different way The 85mm, IMO, is the ideal focal length, as it's long enough to focus in on things, and wide enough for landscape shots. And even when it isn't, zooming with your feet is always an option


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06-18-2010, 07:39 AM   #5
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Thanks for all your comments.

In terms of expenditure, I think the DA15 + DA35 will almost be on par with the DA12-24. I am also extremely interested in this particular zoom lens but I totally agree with you that a prime lens will help me to improve my composition and improve my photos as a whole (with practice), hence my original choice to go with prime this time.

Say you have the DA15 and the DA35...how do you decide which one to take for that particular day? If I am shooting an event i know what kind of lenses i should bring...but if u are on a holiday, how do you decide which lens to put on?
06-18-2010, 07:40 AM   #6
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Mnn...

With that lens setup, I would walk around with the 35, as it will allow you to take pictures of just about most situations, people and objects.

The 15 would really be for landscape and structures, so I will leave it in the bag until the situation calls for it.

The 70 would be great for portrait, and close up of other farther objects so i will also leave it till the situation calls for it.....just my two cents
06-18-2010, 07:53 AM   #7
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what is the big issue with juggling lenses?

Sure I have zooms, and they generally go wit me on vacations because they are flexible (and besides, until I reciently gor an 8mm fisheye, my widest prime was 24mm)

BUT I have also gone on trips with just a few primes, and switching lenses is not an issue, especially with K mount, it is quick and easy. You should try switching M42 lenses like I did. Once you have done that a few times, you will sit and think, OK what's so hard about primes any ways.

For primes, a good simple kit would be something like an 8mm fisheye, a 14-16mm rectalinear wide angle, a 24mm, a 35mm and an 85mm. You go with 5 lenses, a small shoulder bag and one body. unless you get outside a city and start doing wild life you can get by with these 5 lenses, but I have done it with just 2 zooms (a 10-20 and a 28-75) as well

\The reason I take zooms when I travel with family is that they are not necessairly as understanding about my hobby, and I do not have the time to use primes, and "zoom with my feet" to frame shots. It is all about compromise
06-18-2010, 08:01 AM   #8
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Thanks Lowell, that sample kit you just mentioned is extremely helpful for me. I am not keen on the fisheye, so i think my original idea is pretty much in line with your recommendation. A 15mm and a 35mm...except I m not thinking of a 24mm and a 85mm.

Maybe I need to learn how to switch lenses in the field quickly...at the moment I am rather clumsy in changing lens...I only have the 18-55 and 50-200 at the moment and changing them in the field i am hoping i have 8 hands.

How do you guys do it? Do u guys just take out one lens and dump it into the bag without capping it so u have a couple of lenses just rolling inside the bag and when it is time to change lenses, u just take it out and swap it..is that the way?

06-18-2010, 09:15 AM   #9
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When I have a prime mounted, I don't very often worry about whether some shot presents itself for which a different prime would be a better match. I simply find a way of composing the shot that works with the lens I have or find something else to shoot. People obsess over "missed" shots, but geez, I've got tens of thousands of pictures already - it's not the end of the world if I don't get some given picture I might have wanted to take but end up taking another instead.

I like analogies, so here's one.

When I'm out for a ride on my road bike (= prime lens in this analogy) on some county road, I might encounter a trail for which I wish I had my mountain bike instead to explore. Or I might encounter a highway where I would need to be driving my car to travel it. Does this bother me? No, I'm out for a road bike ride, not a mountain bike ride or a drive. The fact that I "missed opportunities" to ride that trail or drive down that highway is just part of life. Doesn't mean I can't enjoy the road bike ride for what it is.

So I tend to shoot with one focal length for while, find shots that please me, and when I feel like a change, switch to another and do the same. Sure, on occasion, I may take advantage of the fact that I *can* change lenses to capture a specific scene, but I'm pretty good about just letting go much of the time and shooting with what I've got mounted.

Is this "better" than using a zoom? No, of course not. But it pleases me.
06-18-2010, 09:21 AM   #10
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Here is my process: I take 4 lenses out normally when landscape shooting,
15ltd,M28mm, 40ltd and the 70 ltd.
When I want to change lens I make sure I turn my back to the wind, take out the lens I want to put on and loosen the back cap. Hold it in one hand and take off the lens on the camera, put the back cap from new lens on it; he put it in the bag and attach the new lens to the camera. The camera must be straped around your neck for this to work or have something to set the camera down on. Most of the places I shoot do not have a good place to put the camera down without the chance of dirt (or water in some cases) getting on it. It is a lot of work so in many cases I will try to make the lens that is on the camera work. Your original question included "juggling", and that is what it fells like sometimes, but to me it is worth the effort to try to get the best shot I can each time I click off a shot.
06-18-2010, 09:38 AM   #11
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changing lens

I carry two body with lens attached.
06-18-2010, 09:56 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ladybug Quote
Maybe I need to learn how to switch lenses in the field quickly...
Yes, that practically goes without saying.

While on rare occasions I'll go out with literally just one lens available, most days I carry a small bag for my camera and 4-5 primes. These takes up less space than my 18-55 and 50-200 together.

On the rare occasions I do decide to take just one lens, I decide basically the same way I decide whether to go for a bike ride, a drive, or a walk. Which is to say, I can't say how I decide - I just go with my gut.

QuoteQuote:
Do u guys just take out one lens and dump it into the bag without capping it
No, I usually take the cap off the lens I am mounting and put it on the lens I am taking off as the first step. Then I remove the rear cap from the new lens, remove the old, put the new one, put the rear cap on the old, and put it in the bag. Takes maybe 10 seconds. The DA40 doesn't share the same cap size as the rest of my primes, but it's also the one lens I let sit in my bag without a cap, because the hood provides all the protection it needs in there. If I know I'll be switching between two and only two lenses, I'll let the one I'm not using in the bag without a cap, standing straight up, to facilitate changing.
06-18-2010, 10:23 AM   #13
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I've been shooting for about 30 years. about halfway through, I stopped using zooms altogether because they're slow and large.

like many here who've already said it, I usually use a single lens when I'm out (wide angle). I know the kinds of photos I like to take and use the lens that will get that look for me. I want to travel as small and lightly as possible, but I will occasionally take a second lens (short tele) with me if I think I'll need it. it depends on the situation.

it is pretty quick to change between lenses in the field. After placing the front cap, I'll take the old lens off the camera, take the new lens out and put it in the same hand, swap the rear cap from new to old and put it away, then put the new lens on the camera. pretty fast and simple.

I'm curious, you now want to focus on primes instead of zooms, but you don't say why.

It seems like you're starting to see the advantages of small fast primes. You may find, like so many others, that you prefer a certain focal length that works for you, to the extent that you may rarely change out lenses in the field.
06-18-2010, 10:32 AM   #14
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Here is a demo relevant to juggling lenses in the field:

06-18-2010, 10:38 AM   #15
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I'm with Marc and Emergo:

I'm always out with a few additional primes, but I rarely switch.

If I see a flying saucer way up in the sky and need a longer lens to get a good shot, I'll change lenses.

Or I'll realize that it's actually landing, and instead, simply wait for it to descend and come better into frame.
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