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07-25-2010, 10:09 PM   #1
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What should I buy with $400?

Painfully with tears in my eye's, I'm selling my Kx for 400, I didn't want to but it was clear that I will need to buy some new stuff and having two bodies would not do my wallet any favors (I'll just have to deal with the K7's ISO ability)

I'll have the 400 from the sale, and then maybe another 150 from my own spending money, what should I buy?

I'm still experimenting with everything so I can't be too specific as to what I'll be buying for, just general photography I guess, my few ideas:

2 slave flash set up: ~180
Pro tripod set up: ~300
2.8 zoom lens: ~420 (sigma)

those are just supplementary and I could probably live without them, am I missing some essential things like filters and such that I should buy instead? One thing is that I think I've massively underestimated the importance of lenses and have definitely skimped in that department

My full gear list below:

K7 w/ DX Grip
----
DA 18-55 WR
DA 50-200 WR
---
Bower 926P Flash
Adorama Mini Softbox
---
Dolica AX620B100 Tripod
---
Incase DSLR Sling Pack
Burton Zoom Pack
Lowepro Lens Case 1N
---
OP/TECH Pro loop Strap
OP/TECH #9 Uni Adapter
OP/TECH Stabilizer Strapp
---
Giottos Rocket Blaster
Lenspen's
Pentax O-ICK1
---
Sayno Eneloops
SanDisk Ultra II (x4)

many thanks for any help

07-25-2010, 10:19 PM   #2
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US$400-550 won't buy much in the way of sex or drugs, so you should get a bunch of manual primes. Start with an A50/1.2, then see how much change is left over. Have fun.
07-25-2010, 10:24 PM   #3
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This lens?

Pentax Lens Review Database - SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.2 Lens Reviews

I think i'd use the DA Limited 40 more, the wider the better for me
07-25-2010, 10:26 PM   #4
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+1
I agree strongly that you should consider some prime lenses, including some fast prime lens with large aperture. The image quality (IQ) of a good prime lens is amazing. Zoom lenses have to make compromise over the zoom range; prime lenses don't. A fast prime will give you in addition the options to work in low-light conditions without flash.

A fast prime with your K-7 will give you some very nice results, whatever is said about High-ISO and K-7.


07-25-2010, 11:31 PM   #5
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Well I rarely use common prime focal lengths, for me the wider the better but I'd like a larger aperture in the normal lengths when I use them, that's why I was leaning towards a used DA* 16-50. Especially since there's very few fast and wide primes.

Can the DA*'s come close to the prime's image quality?
07-26-2010, 12:18 AM   #6
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The DA* 16-50 is as close to prime lens quality as you can get, although there is just something magical about fast primes like the FA 43, FA 31 (both slightly out of your budget) and the DA 35. If those are still too wide, you could even consider a DA 21.

In any case, there's a lot to be gained from getting top primes compared to your kit lenses, but if you can afford a 16-50 (by perhaps selling off one or both of your 18-55s), you won't be disappointed.
07-26-2010, 12:29 AM   #7
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Yeah I've looked over all my favorite shots and none are in the normal prime ranges, I definitely can't spend that much on something I won't use all the day. The DA* 16-50 seems like my dream lens, I just wasn't planning on spending that much this soon.

The other lenses I was looking at were the Sigma 20mm f/1.8 and either a Tamron or Sigma 17-50 f/2.8

07-26-2010, 01:56 AM   #8
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I'd go for the 10-20 sigma. After going wide I'll never go without an ultra-wide. It's probably my favorite piece of glass right now. But the 15 is on the top of my next buy list. Another option is to just upgrade the range that you have, maybe the 16-45 and 55-300 to replace your current zooms. I did the upgrade and it made a noticable improvement in IQ from the kit lenses.
07-26-2010, 02:58 AM   #9
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$400 will buy a very nice collection of Takumar lenses.
07-26-2010, 07:20 AM   #10
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First choice (and, IMHO, by far the most useful and important piece of "gear" you'll ever buy) is a copy of Photoshop CS5. If all the people here who have no ambition to become an ARTIST manage to talk you out of it, then my second choice would be a high quality printer - probably the Epson R2880.

The way I look at it is this - you've already got a bunch of accessories (most of which sit unused most of the time) and a body and lenses capable of taking great photos, so why not invest in something that you'll use every day, and that is capable of truly transforming your photographic art in ways you probably haven't even thought of? That's Photoshop CS5.

A great printer is pretty self-explanatory, although you might want to wait a month or so - Epson might very well introduce the R2880's successor at Photokina this fall.
07-26-2010, 10:52 AM   #11
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CS5 is coming soon, I'm going to be taking a photoshop class this year and already have 200 bucks set aside for the academic version, I just have to get some documentation so I can jump through the hoops
07-26-2010, 11:10 AM   #12
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Difference between 3.5 and 2.8

QuoteOriginally posted by VaughnA Quote
I'd go for the 10-20 sigma. After going wide I'll never go without an ultra-wide. It's probably my favorite piece of glass right now. But the 15 is on the top of my next buy list. Another option is to just upgrade the range that you have, maybe the 16-45 and 55-300 to replace your current zooms. I did the upgrade and it made a noticable improvement in IQ from the kit lenses.
I know I've been wanting a super wide but It's going to pain me to still go on without any fast lenses, even though I'm racking my brain to figure when I ever need super fast lenses.

Is there that much of a difference between 3.5 and 2.8? Because Sigma has a 10-20mm HSM with a constant 3.5 which is basically everything I'm looking for except it's 3.5 instead of 2.8 (which seems to me has established itself as a benchmark for quality lenses), if the difference is only minor though then I think I found my next lens.

Last edited by future_retro; 07-26-2010 at 11:21 AM.
07-26-2010, 12:01 PM   #13
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You don't need to spend $300 to get a good tripod. To get a GREAT tripod, maybe. But to get a really good tripod, no.

Anyway, I agree with those who suggest that you consider getting one or more prime lenses. I'd suggest that you consider the Pentax 40 pancake, which is a terrific lens and good for general use as it's just about "normal" in its angle of view. Or you could consider the Sigma 28 f/1.8, which is one of my favorite lenses. Not small but very good.

SOmeone suggested the Sigma 10-20. That too is an outstanding lens and would complement what you've got. But you should KNOW before you buy that lens that you really want to be able to shoot very wide; otherwise you might find that it's not a lens you use much.

Will
07-26-2010, 12:07 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by future_retro Quote
I know I've been wanting a super wide but It's going to pain me to still go on without any fast lenses, even though I'm racking my brain to figure when I ever need super fast lenses.

Is there that much of a difference between 3.5 and 2.8? Because Sigma has a 10-20mm HSM with a constant 3.5 which is basically everything I'm looking for except it's 3.5 instead of 2.8 (which seems to me has established itself as a benchmark for quality lenses), if the difference is only minor though then I think I found my next lens.
One stop is the difference. Aperture only isn't an indicator of a quality lens, there are a lot more factors than just the max aperture. In fact, the older 10-20 F4-5.6 seems to get better reviews than the newer F3.5 constant aperture version. And for the Ultra-Wides something around 3.5-4 is pretty much the norm in the moderate price ranges. I LOVE the 10-20 F4-5.6 that I have, it's my favorite lens. And also remember that with a super-wide you can go much slower on the shutter speed than on a longer lens.
07-26-2010, 12:30 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by VaughnA Quote
One stop is the difference. Aperture only isn't an indicator of a quality lens, there are a lot more factors than just the max aperture. In fact, the older 10-20 F4-5.6 seems to get better reviews than the newer F3.5 constant aperture version. And for the Ultra-Wides something around 3.5-4 is pretty much the norm in the moderate price ranges. I LOVE the 10-20 F4-5.6 that I have, it's my favorite lens.
Ditto, or pretty close. I like my older 10-20 as well, very much.


QuoteQuote:
And also remember that with a super-wide you can go much slower on the shutter speed than on a longer lens.
Not sure I'd put it that way. I'd be okay if you'd said, "With a longer focal length you will need a much faster shutter to minimize the effects of camera shake." But it just SOUNDS wrong to me to suggest that wider focal lengths allow shorter shutter speeds. It's just just about camera shake: there's also subject motion. Shake reduction has less of an effectóthat is, it's less importantówith wide lenses. But if you are shooting sports with the 10-20, well, you may need a 1/500th sec shutter. And if you are shooting some part of a landscape (or the moon) with a 300mm lens, you may be able to put it on a tripod and take a 1 second exposure.

Anyway, we agree that the Sigma 10-20 with variable aperture is a great lens!

Will
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