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08-01-2010, 06:57 AM   #16
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I havent ordered anything yet, but i think your right about the 50-55mm. I am going to look for a 28-35mm for the city scape pictures i want to do. On top of that im going to wait and see how the kit lens looks. Based on the sample photos im pretty convinced i want something else to play with and i really shouldnt spend more then $100 for the next couple months.

08-01-2010, 08:15 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by buttons Quote
I havent ordered anything yet, but i think your right about the 50-55mm. I am going to look for a 28-35mm for the city scape pictures i want to do. On top of that im going to wait and see how the kit lens looks.
Nifty Fifty's are important because good fast manual ones can be bought cheap, and a fast lens is always good to have. Many f/2's (or faster) in the 50-55-58 range sell for under US$25, sometimes under US$10. And any 50 prime will be much faster than the kit lens.

Going wider: The 'normal' focal length for a camera is the diagonal of its frame (film or sensor), which for full-frame is 43mm, and for APS-C digital is 29mm. Those inexpensive full-frame Nifty Fifty's are really short teles or "long normal", equivalent to 35-40mm on APS-C, where 28-30mm would be "wide normal" and 24mm is slightly wide. We all have our own sense about what's wide, normal, long. On APS-C, I think of these focal lengths:
15-21mm for tight, enclosed spaces;
24-30mm for land- or sea- or city-scapes;
35-37mm for a conventional angle of view;
50mm to frame a subject; 55-58mm for intimacy;
85-90mm for isolating a subject; etc.
Here's a way to decide on what prime(s) to buy: Shoot your 'scapes with your kit lens stopped-down to f/8-11, its sweet spot. Read the Exif data; note which focal lengths you use the most. Since we mostly want deep DOF in 'scapes, decide whether faster primes would help with those shots. As Marc said, it's hard to distinguish the quality of a prime vs the kit lens when they're both stopped down.

Last edited by RioRico; 08-01-2010 at 08:33 AM.
08-01-2010, 08:03 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
A slight correction, Marc: anything wide THAT IS NEW AND AUTOFOCUS will cost mucho dinero.
Actually, I was specifically talking about older MF glass - I just never heard of anyone getting as lucky as you :-). But note I also specifically was talking about 24mm and less. There are fine deals to be had in MF glass at 28mm, and every once in a while as wide as 24mm, but finding a lens wider than that for less than $100 - and then having any such lens turn out to be even as good as the kit lens, much less better - gets increasingly rare.

So if the goal is simply to get nice pictures of one's city and the landscape around it, and one already has the kit lens, then I'm not sure there is really much point in looking to wide angle primes unless one is willing to spend big bucks. Although lenses in the 24-28mm range can certainly be worth looking into. The main point here is, first figure out what focal length you need.

No argument with your comments about discipline :-)
08-01-2010, 08:27 PM   #19
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There are lots of "amazing" photos on this forum made with kit lenses, even the first-generation 18-55. It would be very difficult for even someone experienced to be able to tell whether 98% of the photos here on the forum were taken with a kit lens or a fixed focal length at a similar aperture, given the limitations of a normal-resolution web image. But even at higher resolutions, I believe you are mistakenly assuming that almost any old fixed-length lens you buy off ebay will outperform your kit lens.

A "fast 50" can be useful for a few kinds of photos, but generally landscapes and cityscapes wouldn't be among the better uses for one. Even a 28mm on a small-sensor camera like yours would be limited for a lot of these applications, and frankly you'd probably stand only about a 50/50 chance or less of buying one in the sub-$100 range that outperforms (resolution-wise) the Pentax kit lens, which is really a pretty good lens. You would probably get a little faster lens, but maybe not by much. My SMC Takumar 28 and 35mm lenses were just f3.5, so maybe 1/2 - 1 stop faster.

Paul

08-02-2010, 05:33 AM   #20
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Well with that said Ill just stick with my kits lens and see what i think. I have read people say the pentax kit lens is one of the best ones available -- even so it seems like the first thing everyone does is ditch and get something else.

In the lens review section is scored on average a 7.5 or so meanwhile "$30-40" M/K Primes score over 9 out of 10. The sample pictures look amazing while its hard to find great sample pics from the kit lens. My camera should be delivered today so ill test it out and maybe when i do purchase a new lens ill stick with a DA series.

I think my wife would hate a manual focus prime
08-02-2010, 06:21 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by buttons Quote
Well with that said Ill just stick with my kits lens and see what i think. I have read people say the pentax kit lens is one of the best ones available -- even so it seems like the first thing everyone does is ditch and get something else.

In the lens review section is scored on average a 7.5 or so meanwhile "$30-40" M/K Primes score over 9 out of 10. The sample pictures look amazing while its hard to find great sample pics from the kit lens. My camera should be delivered today so ill test it out and maybe when i do purchase a new lens ill stick with a DA series.

I think my wife would hate a manual focus prime
Buttons, go over to page 1 of the Kit Lens Club and spend 10 hours over the next few days reviewing all of the photos on those pages.

You will be amazed at the quality of the photos there. AMAZED. And that's really the point:

The most important element in photography is the PHOTOGRAPHER, and that's why I stink.

You, however, probably have some talent, and reviewing those pages will best confirm the magic you can do with a so-called "crappy" lens.
08-02-2010, 08:20 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by buttons Quote
Well with that said Ill just stick with my kits lens and see what i think. I have read people say the pentax kit lens is one of the best ones available -- even so it seems like the first thing everyone does is ditch and get something else.
Hardly "everyone". Two sets of people, mostly: pros who regularly make poster-sized prints and are *extremely* demanding of their optics, and beginners who buy into the notion that the kit lenses must be bad because some extremely demanding photographers aren't satisfied with them. But "most" photographers will be fine with the the kit for quite a while while they learn for themselves what the limitations are and how they personally are affected by those. Mostly, the need to upgrade comes from the desire for more *speed* for low light photography of shallow DOF effects, or the desire for something wider or longer - not so much because the *quality* of the images isn't there.

QuoteQuote:
The sample pictures look amazing while its hard to find great sample pics from the kit lens.
First, the Kit Lens Club in this forum is *filled* with great images, But also, what you are seeing is also a simple function of the fact that the *photographer* is usually the biggest determining factor in what makes a great photo, not the lens. Especially when posted at web resolution - there is basically no discernible difference between most lenses at all until you pixel peep the originals at 100%. And as a general rule, the kit lenses tend to be the main lenses of beginners, and older manual focus lenses the main lenses of certain more experienced photographers. So it stands to reason you'd get better images from the latter group of photographers.
08-02-2010, 08:29 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by buttons Quote
-- even so it seems like the first thing everyone does is ditch and get something else.
Not me, I completely by-passed the kit lens and started out with body-only and got an FA50/1.4 to begin with I recognize that this approach might be unorthodox with DSLR beginners though.

08-02-2010, 10:56 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChooseAName Quote
QuoteOriginally posted by buttons:
even so it seems like the first thing everyone does is ditch and get something else.
Not me, I completely by-passed the kit lens and started out with body-only and got an FA50/1.4 to begin with
Ditto. My dSLR order included K20D, AF360, DA10-17, DA18-250, and FA50/1.4. The kit lens came much later, cheap. That initial order came from asking, "What do I want to do that my nifty Sony DSC-V1 can't do?" All my (many) subsequent LBA hits have been answers to either, "What else do I want to do?" or "I wonder what that one can do?" or "Oooh, am I broke yet?"

QuoteQuote:
I recognize that this approach might be unorthodox with DSLR beginners though.
With the K20D et al I *was* a dSLR beginner, but not a photographic beginner, having interchanged lenses earlier in my wasted life. But someone whose entire imaging experience has been with P&S's and camfones will approach it differently, likely looking for that one-shot package that makes dramatically 'better' pictures. And they're disappointed, because FF and HF (APS) dSLRs DON'T WORK NOR DELIVER LIKE P&S's!!

And THAT is probably why the newbie's first impulse is to dump the kit lens -- because it doesn't deliver the smoothness they've become accustomed to from a P&S. That Sony V1 had a nifty Zeiss 4x zoom, 7-28/2.8-4 which, despite the labeling, is NOT equivalent to 34-136mm on a 135 cam. DOF is immense at the power-on default of 7/2.8, much more so than the kit's 18/3.5. "Aw g'z, my kit lens SUCKS in comparison -- I gotta buy better zooms!"

Of course, camera makers and retailers won't cry over this misunderstanding. And that's why I hate references to 'equivalence' and 'cropfactor' etc -- they mislead new users to false expectations. Different format cameras and their lenses just behave differently, and users must learn this. When I used HF and FF and MF etc film cams, I studied those differences. And dSLR newbies should learn the differences too, or else they'll be gravely disappointed and/or will blow money needlessly. Ah well, it helps support the global economy, right?
08-05-2010, 01:19 PM   #25
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I got my pentax and ive snapped a couple hundred photos. Ive taken some shots that certainly impressed me picture quality wise...However, after pixel peeping I do still want a sharper lens but im determined to do an obnixious amount of research before i decide which one to go with.

I looked at Dpreview's sharpness chart and saw that the kit lens is pretty decent. in the short term i want to take pictures of landscape/cities. i feel like 24-28mm is ideal -- i want the entire photo to be sharp, not just the center. Anyone recommend a lens for this? (im ok with primes, even manual focus)

I think its pretty slick then i can zoom in with live view 10x to help find a good focus.
08-05-2010, 03:02 PM   #26
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Get yourself an M42 screw mount adapter and visit here..

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/31601-takumar-club.html

I don't know what your budget is but since you plan to spend a silly amount of time researching your purchase, you may have time to save up. In a Pentax prime, once you go wider than 28mm, the price goes up exponentially. I could suggest the Pentax A 28mm f2.8 but people seem to have a love hate relationship with that lens. Mine is sharp where it counts however. If an AF zoom is your thing, DA12-24.

08-05-2010, 03:23 PM   #27
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get a tamron or a sigma 18-200mm it covers a lot of range which is great for travelling
I use one on mine and its the best bang for the buck lens that I have so far
heck I use it all the time
08-09-2010, 04:25 PM   #28
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Manual vs AF

As a 1970's vintage K1000 *amateur* photographer, I took a lot of pictures with the 28/f3.5, 50/f1.7 and the 135/f3.5. What I think I notice in several forums here is interest in using old glass on DSLRs by young folks with good eyes. Yes, I have experimented with my old glass on my K100D and I like it! The f3.5s can be difficult to focus in low light w/o that prism thing in the view center. Perhaps manual focus is easier on the newer Pentax cameras. My only advise is if buying old MF primes, go bright (assuming it's one of the good lenses). Agree completely on the discipline, and the small image quality improvements over the kit lens.

pentaxandleica
08-10-2010, 08:06 PM   #29
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Update

Yesterday after reading Sean Nelson's description of a procedure on using the autofocus feature w manual lenses, I tried both methods in low light with great success. I took and retook the same shots several times with all methods (trap, semi-auto, and just visual). I cropped to 100% and compared pixels.

K100D (Super) Pictorial guide to using manual lenses [imgs]: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

I found the trap method worked better focusing one direction (far-to-close) as opposed to the other (close-to-far) or vice versa. But the very best was simply looking for the red dot or listening for the beep and hunting back and forth (like the auto focus does sometimes) and taking the shot.

Sean's description is concise and accurate. I figured almost everything out on my own except the semi-auto focus thing. Thanks Sean! So perhaps brighter isn't really much better.
08-10-2010, 08:42 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by buttons Quote
I looked at Dpreview's sharpness chart and saw that the kit lens is pretty decent. in the short term i want to take pictures of landscape/cities. i feel like 24-28mm is ideal -- i want the entire photo to be sharp, not just the center. Anyone recommend a lens for this? (im ok with primes, even manual focus)
At 24-28mm and stopped down to f/8 or more as you'd normally be when aiming for sharpness across the frame, you'd be very hard pressed to tell the difference between the kit lens and a prime, even in the corners.
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